Stepdad, Mom Charged in Precious Doe Slay
Associated Press, By MATT SEDENSKY, May 5, 2005
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For four years, she was known only as Precious Doe, a little girl whose headless body was found along a road. On Thursday, police identified the girl, arrested her mother and stepfather on murder charges, and pronounced the sad mystery solved.just shy of 4 when she was found.
The girl with big brown eyes and neat cornrows in her hair was identified as Erica Michelle Marie Green,
Her mother, Michelle M. Johnson, 30, and stepfather Harrell Johnson, 25, were charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child.
Police said Harrell Johnson admitted that under the influence of alcohol and the hallucinogenic drug PCP, he became angry with Erica when she refused to go to bed, grabbed her, kicked her and threw her to the ground, leaving her unconscious. After she died, he said he used hedge clippers to sever her head.
Both suspects were being held in Oklahoma, where they live.
"We have closure," Police Chief James Corwin said. "The little girl that we've known for four years as Precious Doe has a name."
Police said a tip enabled them to identify Erica, but they would not elaborate.
The girl's body was found near an intersection on April 28, 2001. Days later, her head was found nearby, wrapped in a trash bag.
In the months after she became known as Precious Doe, hundreds attended candlelight vigils, volunteered to answer witness hot lines and passed out fliers with an artist's rendering of the girl. The FBI took blood samples from family members of missing black girls, and the case was featured on television's "America's Most Wanted."
A makeshift memorial of poems, teddy bears and flowers was eventually replaced by a permanent memorial in a park near where her body was found. On Thursday morning, among flowers and balloons, a handwritten sign announced the news: "My Name Is Erica Michelle Maria Green."
Authorities said the little girl was killed in Kansas City, where the family had been staying with a friend. According to court papers, Harrell Johnson beat the girl one night in April 2001 and the couple left her unconscious on the floor for two days. They did not seek medical help, the mother said, because both had warrants out for their arrest.
The child died, and the couple carried the body to a church parking lot, then through the woods, where the stepfather cut the girl's head with hedge clippers, police said.
The break in the case apparently came after community activist Alonzo Washington, who has long championed efforts to find out who the little girl was, placed another advertisement seeking leads in a local paper.
"There's something about it that just bothers me that a child could be thrown away and people forget about it," said Washington, who has worked to raise awareness of missing black children.
Washington said a grandfather of one of the individuals involved in the case came forward, talking with him and detectives last weekend. He said the source, who had spoken to police before on the case, sent photographs of the child as well as hair samples from the child and the mother.
Police and prosecutors refused to confirm specifics or identify the source. Washington declined to be Read More .. specific.
A photo displayed by police during a news conference, showing the girl with a slight smile and adornments in her braided hair, may have been a picture of the wrong child. Oklahoma police saw the picture and said it appeared to be one of the girl's cousins.
Michelle Johnson was being held on $500,000 bail in her hometown of Muskogee, Okla., prosecutor Michael Sanders said. The prosecutor asked that her husband be held without bail and that the couple be extradited to Kansas City as soon as possible.
Oklahoma records show Michelle Johnson has convictions for theft and forgery. The stepfather, being held in jail on unrelated charges, has convictions for several offenses, including assault with a dangerous weapon and possessing a sawed-off shotgun.
In Kansas City, police closed off the street in front of the run-down home where authorities said Johnson and her husband had been staying at the time of the killing.
People who long had been transfixed by the case welcomed news of the arrests.
Billy Stegall, a retired post office worker and Army sergeant, discovered Erica's head in 2001 and has gone back to the site regularly to pray.
"This is a day I have been looking for," he said. "I just asked the Lord to say who she is so she could be at peace, because she wasn't at peace and I wasn't at peace."
Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006
SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.
The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.
"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term. Read More ..
Mom's death dance
SHE PARTIED AS DAUGHTER LEFT TO DIE IN HEAT
September 29, 2004
SINGLE MOM Clara DaSilva admitted yesterday she danced the night away while her 2-year-daughter was dying of dehydration in a sweltering apartment. Tiny toddler Adrianna Maria DaSilva was abandoned for at least 33 hours in a 35C room before her mom discovered her dead on Sept. 9, 2002.
Clara DaSilva, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Justice David Watt will sentence her shortly after Jan. 17 following a five-day trial with one contested fact -- the allegation that her purse, with keys and cash, was stolen at a club the day of her child's death. Read More ..
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.
Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.
Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.
It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.
At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.
Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, USA, August 26, 2008
HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.
The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.
She tried to kill herself afterward.
The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.
Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.
A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002
KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.
Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.
But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.
Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.
"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.
Australian Associated Press
December 05, 2008
A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.
Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year. Read More ..
Fire Officials Claim Fire Intentionally Set
NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
LOS ANGELES, USA -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.
Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.
Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.
TORONTO SUN, May 23, 2003
It seemed a tragic coincidence - at first.
Craig and Kathleen Folbigg's first son died in his sleep at 19 days old. Their next child, Patrick, died two years later at nine months.
Still, it was after their fourth baby died before Australian police suspected something was terribly wrong.
In Sydney's New South Wales State Supreme Court this week, Kathleen Folbigg, 35, was found guilty of killing all four of her babies.
The jury's work would have been made much easier if they had been allowed to read Folbigg's entire secret diary. In it, she practically confesses to following in her dad's deadly footsteps.
"Obviously I am my father's daughter," the Australian woman wrote in her diary Oct. 14, 1996, having already killed three of her four children.
"But I think losing my temper and being frustrated and everything has passed. I now just let things happen and go with the flow. An attitude I should of had with all my children, if given the chance, I'll have it with the next one."
Folbigg was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. She would go on to kill her as well.
Investigation into the Death of Zachary Andrew Turner (18 July 2002 to 18 August 2003)
Zachary Turner, a 13 months old baby, died at the hands of his fugitive mother, Dr. Shirley Turner, who killed him and then committed suicide on August 18, 2003.
Turner was facing extradition to the United States to stand trial for the 2001 murder of Dr. Andrew Bagby, Zachary's father.
28-year-old Dr. Andrew Bagby was found shot to death in Keystone State Park, 55 kilometres northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A.
Turner fled to Newfoundland, Canada where Zachary was born. She was out on bail against the wishes of U.S. authorities at the time of Zachary's death. Read More ..