Precious Doe Defendant Gets New Lawyer, Irritates Judge

Friday, March 23rd 2007, 1:17 pm
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) A judge agrees to remove one of the lawyers from the death penalty defense team representing the man accused of killing the girl once known only as Precious Doe.

Twenty-seven-year-old Harrell Johnson of Muskogee, Oklahoma, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2001 death of his stepdaughter, 3-year-old Erica Green.

Police found Erica's decapitated body in a wooded area in Kansas City in April 2001, but could not identify her for four years.

During Thursday’s hearing, Johnson repeatedly asked Jackson County Circuit Judge J.D. Williamson for new lawyers. He also asked to represent himself.

Williamson agreed to allow one of Johnson's attorneys, Janice Zembles, to withdraw.

Johnson also asked for attorneys other than public defenders. When the judge told Johnson that was not possible, Johnson said, quote, "I'm not going to sit up here and let racist people take my life."

Eventually, Williamson told Johnson to stop and threatened to remove him from the courtroom.

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