Staten Island Commune Stalker Pleads Not Guilty
The former Staten Island commune member, who lived on the lam for more than a year, pleaded not guilty yesterday to attempted murder charges in the shooting of the commune's founder. Rebekah Johnson, 44, who was returned to Staten Island this morning after being busted last month in Philadelphia, was ordered held without bail.
Johnson, who was kicked out of Ganas -- the city's only commune -- in 1996, waged a one-woman war against the commune's founder Jeff Gross, 52, that culminated in gunshots near midnight on May 29, 2006, police said. Gross, who was returning to the compound after watching "An Inconvenient Truth," was struck three times in the chest and arms.
The shooting drew some unwanted attention on the commune of about 80 members who espouse open communication and non-violence, and share space and sometimes open relationships in eight-house compound near the Staten Island ferry.
The commune is open to visitors and accepts new members regularly. More information about Ganas can be found here.