Chad Johnson is led out of Fifth Precinct in Patchogue...

Chad Johnson is led out of Fifth Precinct in Patchogue in 2010 after he had been charged with killing Jennifer Papain, 26, of North Patchogue. (May 25, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

A Medford man paid a prostitute he met on Craigslist $80 for sex, then strangled her because she wouldn't give him a refund, Suffolk County police said Tuesday.

Two months to the day of the slaying, Chad S. Johnson, 22, was arrested Monday and charged with the murder of Jennifer Papain, 26, of North Patchogue.

Johnson, of 773 Express Dr. N., confessed to paying Papain for a sex act in his car, then strangling her and burying her body in a wooded area not far from his home, said Deputy Chief Frank Stallone, the deputy chief of detectives.

"I choked her until she died after we argued about her giving me back the money I paid her for the" act, Johnson told detectives, according to court papers. Johnson's defense attorney, William T. Ferris of Islandia, said his client has a "very strong defense" but declined to elaborate.

According to police, Papain was last seen getting out of a car driven by her pimp on Bay Shore Road in Bay Shore about 5:30 p.m. on March 24. Papain was then reported missing, police said.

Johnson had made the arrangements by phone after seeing Papain's escort-service ad on Craigslist, Stallone said.

Johnson - who has been previously arrested on accusations of choking his girlfriend and other relatives - admitted to detectives that he'd patronized prostitutes before Papain, Stallone said. But the liaison was Johnson's first with Papain, Stallone said.

Johnson became a "person of interest" after police determined he was the last to see Papain alive, assistant district attorney John Scott Prudenti said Tuesday.

With the help of a police dog, Johnson led investigators to Papain's body, officials said at Johnson's arraignment Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip. The body was found late Monday along the north service road of the Long Island Expressway in Medford, just west of Bellport Avenue.

Neither Stallone nor Prudenti would say how they initially connected Johnson to Papain.

Johnson was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree patronizing a prostitute, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was being held without bail Tuesday.

"That's one of the tragic things here," Stallone said, "she chose a profession which is very, very dangerous."

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