Suspect in dismemberment killing pleads not guilty

Jeremiah Johnston is charged with murder and abuse of a corpse.

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 7:17 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 7:32 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A man suspected in the murder of an Aloha woman who was found dead in a vehicle last week has pleaded not guilty.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that 35-year-old Jeremiah Ward Johnston pleaded not guilty to murder and abuse of a corpse Thursday in Washington County.

The body of 28-year-old Sara Zghoul (ZAH-gool) was discovered Jan. 25 after authorities received a tip.

The Oregonian has reported that Zghoul's body was dismembered, decapitated and stuffed into two suitcases. Authorities declined to confirm those details and a probable cause affidavit in the case has been sealed by a circuit court judge for 180 days.

The paper also reported that Johnston tried to kill himself before he was arrested and was hospitalized until Wednesday. He appeared in court in a lime green jail uniform, indicating he is under suicide watch in the jail.

He remains in jail without bail.

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