Suspect in murder of Ardmore model Christina Kraft being held without bail

Sarah Bloomquist Image
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Suspect in murder of Ardmore model Christina Kraft being held without bail
Suspect in murder of Ardmore model Christina Kraft being held without bail. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at Noon on August 30, 2018.

ARDMORE, Pa. (WPVI) -- A man who was recently released from prison was arrested Wednesday in the strangulation slaying of a model in one of Philadelphia's affluent Main Line suburbs, authorities said.

Jonathan Wesley Harris, 30, of Johnstown, was arrested as he got off a bus in Pittsburgh, according to the Lower Merion Township police and the Montgomery County district attorney.

Harris, who reportedly has family in Philadelphia, was charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder along with robbery, theft and related offenses in the Aug. 22 slaying of Christina Kraft, 36, in Ardmore.

At a court hearing on Thursday morning, Harris was ordered to be held without bail. The next hearing will be held on September 10.

Police make arrest in murder of model in Ardmore: Sarah Bloomquist reports on Action News at 6 p.m., August 29, 2018.

Court records show Harris, from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had just been released from state prison on July 15. He was serving time on a list of charges including assault. Officials said he was staying with a sister in Southwest Philadelphia.

Authorities say he was the person of interest seen in the surveillance images released earlier this week.

An anonymous source called police after seeing the video on news reports, authorities say.

News conference on murder of model in Ardmore held August 29, 2018.

According to authorities, this person said Harris texted him or her around the time the former Playboy model was murdered and said he was at her apartment in Ardmore.

In a news conference held Wednesday afternoon, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Kraft died a violent death.

"Christina was beaten, and the beating was substantial. Her nose was broken, she had black eyes, there was a lot of blood," he said. "Then she died of strangulation. Something was put around her neck."

Police have charged Jonathan Wesley Harris with the murder of model Christina Kraft as reported by Dann Cuellar during Action News at 11 on August 29, 2018.

According to investigators, Kraft left her apartment on Sibley Avenue in the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 22 and used Lyft to go to the 1400 block of Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia.

Surveillance video showed Kraft meeting with Harris near South Broad and 13th streets, the D.A. said. A short time later, the two enter a vehicle.

According to investigators, records indicate the front door of the apartment opened at 3:08 a.m. and the back door leading to a terrace was closed at 5:19 a.m.

Kraft was killed during a violent struggle within that two-hour timespan, Steele said.

Kraft's body was discovered on the evening of August 22 during a wellness check by police.

Former Playboy model found strangled in her Ardmore apartment bedroom: As seen on Action News at 10:30 p.m., August 23, 2018

Steele said he has not seen anything to indicate there was a previous relationship between Harris and Kraft, but he added the investigation is still ongoing.

"Whether it was a chance meeting or something else, I can't say," said Steele.

Meanwhile, police are also looking for 31-year-old Andre Melton in connection with a burglary at Kraft's apartment the previous weekend.

Investigators say designer bags and jewelry Kraft reported stolen were found at his Theodore Street home in Southwest Philadelphia. Steele said investigator do not yet know if this burglary and Kraft's murder are connected.

Andre Melton

Kraft was a model who according to a booking page credits herself with a "tasteful photo shoot for Playboy that was beyond Hollywood glamour."

Her profile also lists photo shoots for Vanity Fair, Victoria's Secret, and Maxim.

Woman found strangled in Ardmore: Trish Hartman reports on Action News at 6 p.m., August 23, 2018


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