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Murder Suspect Arrested After Allegedly Leaving His Passport At The Scene Of The Crime

Sanjay Stewartson told cops he'd lost his passport at Walmart and needed a police report to get a replacement so he could go on vacation. He didn't know they'd already found it. 

By Ethan Harfenist

A man in Georgia who was arrested after allegedly leaving his passport at a crime scene and then reporting it missing to police has been indicted, according to reports.

Sanjay Stewartson, of Lithonia, Georgia, was indicted earlier this month by a DeKalb County grand jury over the death of Peter Johnson on May 8 at a popular shopping plaza, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. He is accused of malice murder.

Stewartson’s been sitting in a cell since mid-May, when he entered the Lawrenceville Police Department about a week after the incident to report his passport missing, according to a report by WSB-TV. But police allege that Stewartson had no idea he’d even dropped the document at the shooting scene and was wanted for questioning after authorities found the passport, as well as a phone that reportedly showed Johnson and Stewartson quarreling over cannabis, AJC reports.

Instead, Stewartson told police that he lost his passport at a local Walmart and he required a police report to obtain a new one, since he and his wife wanted to take a vacation, WSB-TV reports. But officer Russell Chatham noticed him shaking and sweating, heightening his suspicion. Chatham then looked up Stewartson’s name and birthday, saw he had a warrant out for murder, and called in backup.

Chatham proceeded to stall for time while waiting for his fellow officers to arrive; he asked Sterwartson about his supposedly upcoming trip to Jamaica and riffed about tourism in the Caribbean island country long enough to keep Stewartson in the station while a second officer came through, WSB-TV reports. 

“I don’t know who was more surprised, the suspect or officer Chatham,” Lawrenceville Police Chief Tim Wallis said, as quoted by WSB-TV.

[Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office]

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