Florida LGBTQ activist’s roommate charged with strangling, dumping him in landfill

Apr 19, 22
Florida LGBTQ activist’s roommate charged with strangling, dumping him in landfill

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Steven Yinger was charged with murdering his roommate Jorge Diaz-Johnston — a prominent Florida LGBTQ activist.
Steven Yinger was charged with murdering his roommate Jorge Diaz-Johnston -- a prominent Florida LGBTQ activist. Florida DOC

The roommate of a prominent Florida LGBTQ activist has been charged with strangling him to death before dumping his corpse in a landfill.

Steven Yinger, 37, was indicted by a grand jury Friday in the death of Jorge Diaz-Johnston, the brother of former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Leon County prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Monday that Yinger was living with Diaz-Johnston at the time of his disappearance in January. The two men knew each other from a stint in alcohol rehab according to Local News 10.

Yinger allegedly fatally strangled Diaz-Johnston and then dumped him in a landfill.
Yinger allegedly fatally strangled Diaz-Johnston and then dumped him in a landfill.
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Diaz-Johnston, who helped usher in the legalization of gay marriage in Florida, was later found in a trash pile in Baker, Florida in January.

The activist was separated from his husband, Don, at the time of his murder.

“To now be a part of this and have our marriage end this way is something I just never saw coming and still frankly can’t accept,” the grieving spouse told NBC Miami.

Diaz-Johnston was a plaintiff in a 2014 court case challenging Florida's ban on gay marriage.
Diaz-Johnston was a plaintiff in a 2014 court case challenging Florida’s ban on gay marriage.
AP Photo/J Pat Carter

Prosecutors said Yinger throttled the victim to death before discarding him in a public garbage collection site near their Tallahassee residence.

The body was later transferred to a separate landfill where it was discovered.

Diaz-Johnston was a key plaintiff in a historic 2014 lawsuit challenging Florida’s then ban on gay marriage. His brother served as mayor of Miami from 2001 to 2009.

Diaz-Johnston was separated from his husband Don Johnston at the time of the murder.
Diaz-Johnston was separated from his husband Don Johnston at the time of the murder.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In addition to first-degree murder, Yinger faces theft and and other raps for driving Diaz-Johnston’s BMW and spending his cash, according to an indictment.

Yinger, who is being held without bail in Leon County, had prior convictions for a range of crimes, including cocaine distribution and theft.

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