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A man accused of strangling the mother of his infant son and then torching her body and car in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood earlier this week is due in court Monday to be arraigned on murder and arson charges.

Almon Johnson, 29, was unable to appear at his initial arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday due to an unspecified medical condition. A judge ordered a mental health evaluation.

Johnson was arrested Monday night, after police found the burned body of 23-year-old Vanessa Herrera, of Sacramento, inside her gray, two-door Pontiac in the 400 block of Rose Street at 3:30 a.m. that day, police said.

Johnson, who is believed by police to have ties to both Sacramento and the San Francisco area, is the father of Herrera’s 7-month-old son, according to prosecutors.

He was arrested at Seventh and Market streets in downtown San Francisco on Monday at about 11 p.m., authorities said.

A motive for the crime is still being investigated. Police would only say it is believed to have been domestic violence-related.

Johnson allegedly killed Herrera in Sacramento some time between Sunday and early Monday, then drove her body to an area in San Francisco with which he was familiar, prosecutors said.

Johnson allegedly made admissions to police following his arrest, prosecutors said.
He is now being held in a hospital jail facility pending his appearance in court Monday morning for appointment of an attorney from the public defender’s office, arraignment and plea.

Bail is set at $10 million.

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

Johnson had prior contacts with San Francisco police for robbery in the late 1990s, and later with law enforcement in the East Bay and Sacramento, prosecutors said.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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