Domestic violence involved in death, car fire in Lower Haight 

The case of a woman who was killed and set ablaze in the Lower Haight neighborhood in San Francisco reportedly was related to domestic violence, prosecutors said Monday.

Almon Johnson, accused of killing the mother of his infant son and then burning her body and car in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood last week, appeared in court for the first time Monday.

During a brief appearance in San Francisco Superior Court, 29-year-old Johnson agreed to postpone his arraignment on murder and arson charges.

He told Judge Jeffrey Ross that he spells his name "Al-Mon" Johnson and agreed to waive his right to be arraigned immediately. The San Francisco Public Defender's Office has been appointed in the case.

Johnson is accused of strangling 23-year-old Vanessa Herrera, the mother of his 7-month-old son, in Sacramento sometime between Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, and then driving her body to San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood, where the car was set ablaze.

Herrera's gray, two-door Pontiac was found engulfed in flames at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 24 in the 400 block of Rose Street.

Johnson, who police said has ties to both that neighborhood and Sacramento, was arrested Monday night at Seventh and Market streets in San Francisco.

Herrera was a resident of Sacramento.

Police have said the crime appears to have been domestic violence-related, but have not discussed a specific motive.

Prosecutors said Johnson made admissions to police following his arrest.

Last week, arraignment was postponed because Johnson was being held at a hospital for an unspecified medical condition. A judge then ordered a mental health evaluation.

According to prosecutors, Johnson was on parole for grand theft at the time of the murder.

Bail is set at $10 million in the case. Arraignment and plea entry are scheduled for Wednesday morning.

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