Kansas City, MO – Seven years after the headless body of a child was found in a wooded area near Swope Park, a jury has found Harrell Johnson guilty of first degree murder of the little girl known as Precious Doe.
Defense attorney Chris Slusher had told the jury that Harrell Johnson was not a premeditated killer.
"He did terrible things, he was using drugs. He was out of (his) mind. As Michelle said, 'those things take your soul away.'" Slusher said. "But he wasn't cool and he didn't want the child dead."
But the jury didn't buy it after hearing testimony that Johnson kicked little Erica Green in the head. They heard Erica's mother testify that the couple knew the girl would die without medical attention, but withheld it to avoid facing outstanding warrants. They heard a neurosurgeon say that doctors could have saved Erica's life.
The jury deliberated only about three hours. Harrell Johnson will spend life in prison without possibility of parole. Erica's mother has pleaded guilty to second degree homicide.