Ex-con NYC murder suspect smiles with DA Bragg shortly before shocking arrest

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A former felon who got out of prison less than a year ago has been charged with killing another man in a New York City apartment, chopping him up and leaving his head in a freezer.

Sheldon Johnson, 48, is also a prominent criminal justice reform advocate whom podcaster Joe Rogan interviewed last month and who works with the Queens Defenders legal group.

The NYPD is now accusing Johnson of shooting 44-year-old rival Collin Small in his Bronx apartment on Tuesday. Officers arrived around 10 p.m., and at first, only found Small's headless torso.

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There were two disembodied feet under the torso in a plastic bin at the scene, FOX 5 New York reported. In Johnson's apartment in Harlem, police allegedly found Small's head, legs and one arm stuffed into a freezer.

New York Department of Corrections records show Johnson and Small both served prison time.

Neighbors overheard a man begging for mercy shortly before two gunshots rattled the apartment building, where Johnson was allegedly seen coming and going multiple times in different disguises after the murder, according to the New York Post.

"Please don't," a man said, according to the paper. "I have a family."

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The suspected killer has been busy since getting out of prison last year, working as an advocate with the Queens Defenders, one of several public defenders groups that begged for hundreds of millions of dollars in increased funding last year, according to the Daily News.

The group also touted a City University of New York School of Law professor, Steven Zeidman, last month for his work getting clemency for Johnson.

On his Instagram, Johnson shared a photograph of himself smiling and shaking the hand of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Last month, he appeared on Joe Rogan's podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience."

Bragg's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In another photo, Johnson appeared to pose alongside the CFO of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, and in another, he gestures in front of a sign that claims, "Jail increases the risk of recidivism…at the expense of actual public health and safety."

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On the podcast, Johnson said he was released from prison on May 4 after serving 25 years and 5 months for multiple armed robberies.

Although he claimed to have risen to the top of the inmate hierarchy, he said he reformed himself in prison. After getting out, he said he went on an airplane for the first time, and he had an epiphany.

"I had this analogy in my head when I was up in the clouds, and I'm looking down, and I said to myself, I said, I just came from the bowels of hell, spending 25 years in prison, and now I'm in the sky above the clouds in heaven."

Now he is being held without bail in a New York City jail on a second-degree murder charge.

His next court date is March 11.

A spokesman for the Queens Defenders told Fox News Digital the organization had no comment on Johnson's arrest Friday.

Fox News' Emmett Jones contributed to this report.

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