FORT GREENE – Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Thursday that a 44-year-old Philadelphia man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the stabbing death of a “Brooklyn man inside his apartment during a drug-fueled sexual encounter.”
According to trial testimony, David Haigh connected with the 41-year-old victim, James Johnson, on a dating app in April 2017. Haigh reportedly visited Johnson’s apartment at the Ingersoll Houses “for a weekend of sex and drugs,” according to the DA’s press release.
Haigh has a history of methamphetamine use and reportedly took the drug before the incident took place, according to Gonzalez’s office. The drug can cause paranoia, the DA’s release notes. After approximately 30 hours without sleep, Haigh allegedly became paranoid and locked both Johnson and himself inside the apartment.
The two then got into a physical altercation early in the morning of April 9. Haigh stabbed Johnson 22 times with multiple knives, killing the victim. According to the DA’s office, Haigh suffered minor injuries that were consistent with Johnson trying to defend himself.
Early last year, Haigh contacted Bklyner from the Brooklyn Detention Center via a handwritten letter stating that he was attacked and acted in self-defense. When police arrived at the scene, they discovered evidence of an altercation. “Johnson was on his back in a pool of blood, a knife sticking out of the left side of his chest. He’d been stabbed multiple times. Haigh had bruises on his face, and his finger had been badly injured by a bite. The autopsy found body hair in Johnson’s teeth, and bite marks on Johnson’s chest,” Bklyner reported in April 2018.
Haigh was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in Johnson’s death. Following his arrest, he told investigators that Johnson attacked him when Haigh tried to leave the apartment. Haigh said he stabbed Johnson to protect himself.
Approximately a week before the April 9 incident, Johnson was accused of an alleged sexual assault. In that complaint, another man reported that he went to Johnson’s apartment after smoking crystal methamphetamine. The victim alleged that Johnson threatened him with violence when he tried to leave the apartment and then forced him to have anal sex.
Police records do not indicate that detectives ever found or questioned Johnson about this previous incident. The case against Johnson was closed following his death.
Haigh was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in December 2018 and sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision by the Brooklyn Supreme Court on January 10, 2019.
“This defendant engaged in risky and dangerous behavior that culminated with a senseless killing of an innocent man,” Gonzalez said in the release. “Today’s sentence holds him accountable for his deadly actions and I hope it will provide some solace to the victim’s loved ones.”