Stepfather charged with first-degree murder in Precious Doe case

Tuesday, August 2nd 2005, 2:14 pm
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Muskogee man whose stepdaughter's decapitated body was found in Kansas City, Missouri, and known only as "Precious Doe" was indicted today by a grand jury for first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say the indictment against Harrell Johnson upgrades the charge from a second-degree murder count originally filed against him.

Prosecutor Mike Sanders says he'll decide soon whether to seek the death penalty.

Johnson and his wife, Michelle, were both charged with second-degree murder in May after Kansas City police followed a tip from a family member linking them to the death of the girl who was 4 when her body was found in a park in 2001.

The girl was then identified as Erica Johnson, the daughter of Michelle Johnson.

Documents say Harrell Johnson has admitted being under the influence of alcohol and the drug P-C-P when he became angry because the girl refused to go to bed. He told investigators he grabbed Erica, kicked her and threw her to the ground and left her unconscious.

He said after the girl died he and Michelle Johnson used hedge clippers to sever the head.

Michelle Johnson was charged last month in Oklahoma with obtaining food stamps and welfare assistance for the girl for years after the child died.