Victim Susan Trott (FB)

New York Woman, Obsessed With Murder, Used M48 Cyclone Knife To Brutally Kill Elderly Neighbor

Victim Susan Trott (FB)
Victim Susan Trott (FB)

In the heart of New York City’s bustling Upper West Side, a chilling tragedy unfolded that would forever alter the lives of those involved.

On October 21, 2018, the lifeless body of 70-year-old Susan Trott was discovered in her apartment, the victim of a brutal murder committed by her neighbor, Anya Johnston.

This harrowing case, marked by Johnston’s disturbing obsession and the devastating loss of an innocent life, would ultimately lead to a hard-fought battle for justice in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

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Susan Trott was a lifelong New Yorker known for her kind-hearted spirit and generosity within her local community. A successful businesswoman and mentor to many, Trott had lived in the same apartment building as her killer, Anya Johnston, for over a decade.

Neighbors described Trott as an animal lover and a woman with strong opinions who was well-respected and adored by those who knew her.

Anya Johnston, a 29-year-old resident of the same apartment building, was the perpetrator of this heinous crime.

Prosecutors revealed that Johnston had long harbored a disturbing fantasy about committing a murder, and on that fateful day in October 2018, she would tragically act on this obsession.

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On the afternoon of October 17, 2018, Johnston ran several errands, including closing her bank account. Later that day, she returned to her apartment and gathered a backpack containing two knives and latex gloves.

Armed with these deadly tools, Johnston then made her way to Trott’s apartment, where the unsuspecting victim resided.

Once inside Trott’s apartment, Johnston took out an M48 Cyclone knife from her backpack and proceeded to stab Trott in the lower back and neck, ultimately killing her.

M48 Cyclone Knife (United Cutlery)
M48 Cyclone Knife (United Cutlery)

After the attack, Johnston returned to her own apartment, hiding the backpack in a nearby stairwell before leaving the building.

For several days following the incident, Trott’s business partner was unable to reach her, prompting the police to conduct a wellness check on October 21, 2018. It was during this visit that Trott’s body was discovered, and the investigation into her murder began in earnest.

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The next day, pursuant to a court-authorized search warrant, officers recovered several items from Johnston’s apartment, including the clothing and sneakers she had been wearing during the incident. DNA testing confirmed that the clothes were stained with Trott’s blood, providing crucial evidence to link Johnston to the crime. Johnston was subsequently arrested on October 31, 2018.

The Prosecution’s Case

The case against Anya Johnston was led by Assistant District Attorneys Harrison Schweiloch and Hannah Yu, under the supervision of Charles Whitt and Executive District Attorney Lisa DelPizzo. The prosecution presented a compelling case, highlighting Johnston’s premeditation, the evidence gathered from the crime scene, and her actions in the aftermath of the murder.

On March 4, 2024, a New York Supreme Court jury found Anya Johnston guilty of one count of Murder in the Second Degree.

On May 1, 2024, Johnston was sentenced to 20 years-to-life in state prison for the callous and tragic murder of her neighbor, Susan Trott.

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The loss of Susan Trott has had a profound impact on her family, friends, and the broader Upper West Side community. In the aftermath of the tragedy, District Attorney Alvin Bragg expressed his sympathy for Trott’s loved ones, acknowledging the overwhelming emotional pain they have experienced since her untimely death.

“Anya Johnston callously took the life of her neighbor Susan Trott, a lifelong New Yorker with a kind-hearted, generous spirit,” said District Attorney Bragg. “To Ms. Trott’s family and loved ones, Johnston robbed them of a friend, mentor and business partner. Since her loss, they have experienced overwhelming emotional pain, and I hope today’s sentence can offer them a sense of justice knowing Johnston has been held accountable.”  

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