Prosecutors can seek death penalty in girl's slaying

Friday, February 10th 2006, 3:10 pm
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Prosecutors in Missouri will be allowed to seek the death penalty for an Oklahoma man who's accused of killing his stepdaughter in 2001.

A judge in Kansas City says prosecutors can ask for the death penalty for Harrell Johnson of Muskogee even though they said earlier they would not ask that he be executed if convicted. The judge says the change is allowed because prosecutors did not formally waive the death penalty.

Johnson is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 3-year-old Erica Green. The girl was known only as Precious Doe after her headless body was found in a Kansas City park in 2001 and her head was found several days later.

She was identified last year and Johnson and his wife, Michelle, were arrested. Michelle Johnson is the girl's mother and is charged with second-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Harrell Johnson kicked and threw the girl, then left her to die before decapitating her and leaving her body in the park.