Arrest made months after Javonnta Murphy's body found in barrel in Malibu

Officials in Los Angeles County announced Thursday that arrests were made in connection to an aspiring rapper's body being stuffed inside a barrel in Malibu.

The horrific killing is believed to be connected to rapper Pop Smoke's murder

Back in late July, authorities found the body of 32-year-old Javonnta Murphy inside the barrel off a beach in Malibu. On Thursday, Oct. 26, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department identified Joshua Simmons as a suspect. He has since been detained on suspicion of murder.

A second suspect, named Dennis Vance, was booked on suspicion of accessory to the murder, sheriff's officials told FOX 11.

For Simmons, this is far from his first run-in with the law.

Prior to Thursday's news, he previously made headlines for his failed smash-and-grab robbery attempt at a jewelry store in El Monte. In the failed robbery, the store employees turned the tables against Simmons by beating him with a stick and chasing him out of the store.

FOX 11 obtained images of the El Monte incident, where Simmons was seen losing his shirt and running from the scene.

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During the earlier stages of the Javonnta Murphy death investigation, TMZ reported there may have been a possible connection between Pop Smoke and Murphy's murders. In TMZ's Aug. 2023 report, Murphy is believed to be the brother of Jaquan Murphy, who was one of the five suspects arrested for Pop Smoke's murder in 2020.

Jaquan Murphy was initially charged with murder for Pop Smoke's death but was later cleared. Jaquan Murphy is currently awaiting trial for a different murder in LA County, TMZ previously reported.

As of October 2023, officials have neither confirmed nor denied if Javonnta Murphy's death is in fact connected to Pop Smoke's death.