Crime And Law

Man beat to death with wooden club before being dumped at nursery property, records show

CLAY TWP., Montgomery County — A New Mexico man is behind bars in Wisconsin, charged in the death earlier this month of a man whose body was found wrapped in plastic, stuffed in a blue sleeping bag and dumped near a wooded area.

David Savage, 61, is charged with murder, felonious assault, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the death of 47-year-old Steven T. Johnson of Clay Twp.

Johnson’s body was found Oct. 8 off Arlington Road by a Browns Nursery worker.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s detectives tracked Savage to Wisconsin, and told police there where he was.

RELATED: Detectives have ‘persons of interest’ in Clay Twp. homicide

Savage was arrested Saturday by Oak Creek police and is in the Milwaukee County Jail on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, jail records showed.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said Savage and Johnson likely argued about a woman and drugs before Savage allegedly beat Johnson to death.

“I got a tip personally about where he did it, how he did it and it was on a vacant house on Eichelberger (Avenue),” Plummer said.

Detectives searched the house in the neighborhood off Gettysburg Avenue. Evidence uncovered inside convinced them that Johnson was killed there, likely by Savage.

They stressed again that Johnson’s death had nothing to do with his status as a registered sex offender.

RELATED: Body of registered sex offender found wrapped in plastic; death ruled homicide

“It was over a female and drugs. These people run in bad crowds, doing drugs. They were fighting over a woman,” Plummer said.

Deputies said Johnson was killed sometime between 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and 1:45 a.m. Oct. 8, according to documents.

The sheriff said Savage may have used a metal pipe to kill Johnson.

A coroner’s investigator said Johnson died of blunt force trauma.

His body was found Oct. 8 wrapped in plastic and dumped miles away near a treeline off Arlington Road in Clay Twp. on property owned by Browns Nursery.

Investigators said that Savage is from New Mexico, but described him as a “drifter” who spent time in Dayton and Wisconsin, where authorities there arrested him on drug charges in connection to methamphetamine.

“This meth is problematic for us, they stay up for four days in a row, they’re wired, going crazy, chasing the next high and they’re violent,” Plummer said.

Now, authorities are awaiting Savage’s extradition to Ohio.

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