A Las Vegas woman has been arrested for the murder and decapitation of her boyfriend after allegedly warding off his sexual advances, according to KLAS.
A statement released by the Henderson Police Department (HPD) announced that 45-year-old Devyn Jade Michaels was arrested on August 15, 2023 for Open Murder.
The statement says officers and the fire department responded to a residence on the 2000 block of Pala Dura Drive on August 7, 2023. A woman called 911 at 8:40 a.m. to report that she had found her son, 46-year-old Johnathan Willette, in his bed, and she thought he might be dead.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reviewed the arrest report, and reported that when first responders found Willette, he was wrapped up in blankets, and his head was missing, nowhere to be found. Upon observing a chemical smell and smoke coming from the body, police determined that Willette’s remains had been covered in bleach and ammonia.
Police suspected Devyn Michaels, Willette’s ex-girlfriend, as his mother told them the couple was trying to get back together, Law & Crime states. However, Michaels married Jonathon’s son a few years ago to “help each other out.” She and Jonathon had two kids together.
Willette’s son allegedly told police he and Michaels got married so he could help her with her medical issues, Law & Crime says.
Willette’s mother told police that she last saw her son downstairs at around 10 p.m. with Michaels, KLAS says. His mother saw Michaels in the kitchen, washing dishes, at around 1 a.m. Michaels told Willette’s mother that her son was drunk and in bed, but that they’d be leaving early in the morning to register their kids for school.
The mother went back upstairs, but didn’t see her son, KLAS says. At 3 a.m., Willette’s mother awoke to the sound of dogs barking, but she went back to sleep despite thinking it was unusual.
In the morning at about 8, Willette’s mother went downstairs and discovered the dogs locked outside, according to KLAS. Upon searching the house, she discovered her son still in bed, but he was dead.
Police interviewed Michaels, KLAS continues, who said that she wasn’t in an intimate relationship with Johnathon’s son, and was only married to him for medical reasons. However, she planned on moving in with the elder Willette, effectively kicking his son out so he could take over the home. Michaels claimed this was to make things easier on the kids.
Michaels also revealed that the father and son weren’t getting along due to Michaels wanting to live with her boyfriend instead of her husband, KLAS reports. Initially, she told police that she left the home the night Johnathon died right after speaking to his mother in the kitchen.
But a search of Michaels’ home revealed she had his wallet, keys, social security card, and his phone, which was stained with blood, KLAS says. This prompted investigators to conduct a polygraph test on Michaels. During this test, Michaels allegedly had a “significant reaction” to being asked about if she was involved with Willette’s death.
When asked about it, Michaels claimed that Johnathon had been abusive to her and and would make his oldest child have showers in front of him, KLAS reports. She told investigators that on the night he died, they were sitting on a bed when Johnathon tried to convince her to perform a sex act on him.
She claimed she hit him over the head with a stick, after which his arms went limp, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, citing the arrest report.
According to KLAS, she didn’t mean to kill him. She only wanted to harm him enough he wound up in the hospital so she had time to figure out what to do with her children. She never admitted to decapitating him, though. Police also haven’t said whether his head was found.
Willette’s mother also called police to inform them that a cleaver was missing from her kitchen, Law & Crime adds.
Who was Johnathon James Willette?
Johnathon’s step-sister, Valarie Rivera, wrote of him on the GoFundMe page set up in the aftermaths of his death. She said he “had the personality and charisma that attracted everyone to love him.”
“He worked on the Las Vegas Strip in the Timeshare industry for 20-plus years, touching so many lives,” Rivera continues. “Later he started his own marketing company ‘JW Marketing’ working for Pampas.”
Rivera adds that before the pandemic, Johnathon started a second business after leaving his marketing one. He founded “The Vegas Moving Guy,” and helped people with moving or hauling. His truck and trailer with two American flags were a common sight throughout the Las Vegas valley, she says.
Johnathon had two daughters with Michaels, as well as an adult son.
“Rest in Peace Johnathan, we all love you,” Rivera writes. She set up the GoFundMe to assist his daughters so they “can put this behind them and have a bright future ahead.”