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Indianapolis Man Used Grindr to Rob, Murder Gay Man

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday March 4, 2021

An amateur porn star and rapper from Indianapolis is facing charges for the armed robbery of one man and the murder of another that he met on Grindr, Out reports.

In the first instance, Diabolique Paris Johnson, age 34, allegedly robbed a man on September 1 at a Detroit hotel after meeting the victim on the gay dating app. Prosecutors said Johnson intentionally targeted LGBTQ people.

On September 5, Johnson is reported to have murdered Joshua Smelser, age 39, in another attempted armed robbery. According to neighbors and family, Smelser had only moved to Detroit six months earlier. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots and seeing the suspect leaving Smelser's home with a backpack. Prosecutors say the backpack contained a number of Smelser's personal items such as a laptop, phone, and credit cards. According to Out, the victim's neighbors attempted to follow Smelser but lost him in the dark. Police say they have audio and video recordings of the murder.

Smelser's friends and family remember him as a "loving son, brother, and pet parent." They have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for related expenses. Additional money will be donated to a scholarship fund in Smelser's name to attend Nurtured by Nature, and to assist new artists entering into the music business.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.