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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Child's killer should get death penalty

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This is yet another in a series of rants for those who consistently oppose capital punishment on why we need the death penalty in this country. My arguments won't sway their opinions. But it may reinforce yours.

Erica Michelle Marie Green was about to turn 4. She lived in Kansas City with her mother and occasionally, with the mother's boyfriend.

Four years ago - the exact date remains uncertain - the boyfriend, Harrell Johnson, came home drunk and high on PCP. When Erica refused to go to bed, Johnson became enraged. He grabbed the girl, kicked her and threw her to the ground. She remained there for two days.

When it was obvious to the couple that the girl was dead, they panicked. They could not call police because both had outstanding warrants. So they took the body to a nearby wooded area where Johnson took a pair of hedge clippers and severed her head. They discarded the body in one location and the severed head in another. And then they fled to Oklahoma.

The body was discovered and has remained unclaimed and unidentified for four years. Residents of Kansas City named her Precious Doe. They began fund drives to find the killer and to identify the little girl. One community activist virtually devoted his life to searching for clues.

The break came last week when a relative of the killers tipped police. Within hours the pair was arrested and will soon return to Kansas City. They will be charged with murder. They will be convicted.

Johnson, the killer, is just 25. He was 21 when the PCP and alcohol combined in that nightmare. His police record is extensive and filled with violent acts. The mother isn't much better. And don't misunderstand. Johnson has already confessed and given details of the murder. The question of guilt does not apply in this case.

So here's the question of the day. Should Missouri taxpayers pay to feed, house and babysit Harrell Johnson for the remainder of his life? Should he be allowed to visit with family, to watch television, to attend educational classes? Should Harrell Johnson be allowed to spend the next 50 or so years of his remaining life as an expense to taxpayers?

No! Harrell Johnson should be put to death at the earliest possible date. He should be tried and all of the evidence should be presented. And then he should be given every opportunity to explain his actions. And then he should die.

If, in some bizarre way, he could explain that the drugs influenced his decisions then how can he explain how two days later he put the body in a trash bag, severed the head and discarded that child? The truth is he has no explanation. He is simply evil trash that deserves the ultimate punishment of society.

For those who argue against the death penalty, Harrell Johnson is their worst nightmare. They cannot explain nor justify his actions and they cannot honestly oppose the death penalty for this animal. They know it, I know it and you know it too.



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