Kansas City, Mo. –
What became, arguably, Kansas City's most perplexing murder case in the last quarter century has become a trial at the Jackson County Courthouse.
Prosecutors maintain it was Harrel Johnson's admitted kick to the little girl's head that killed her. A point disputed by defense. A medical examiner testified she was dead when she was decapitated and her body left in woods near 59th and Kensington, Kansas City. The child went four years unidentified, known only as Precious Doe, until David Bernard had a tip from Oklahoma. The homicide sergeant heard from a man who thought he knew who she was, testifying the caller was, in his words, " Mr. Harrel Johnson's grandfather. She was a child belonging to Michelle Johnson. Michelle was married to Mr. Johnson at the time and the child was Part of the family." It was later learned the girl's name was Erica Green. Johnson and the mother were arrested in Muskogee, Oklahoma and returned to Kansas City to face charges.
The jury will have to decide whether kicking the child was intentional, and thus murder. Or reckless, and not.