Donte Johnson (pictured right), 20, who is said to have the mind of an 11-year-old child, was found guilty of the 2010 first-degree murder and rape of Philadelphia waitress Sabina O’Donnell (pictured left). The judge gave him a sentence of life without parole in state prison, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
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Johnson confessed to police that he merely wanted O’Donnell’s bicycle, which was why he followed her on that fateful night of June 10, 2010. The 20-year-old woman, who was an aspiring dancer and model, peddled home in a borrowed bicycle at around 1:00 a.m., after completing her shift at the restaurant where she was employed.
Surveillance videos show O’Donnell being pursued by Johnson who was also on a bicycle. When the young woman arrived at her place of residence, Johnson is shown grabbing her around the neck, then forcefully dragging her to the back of her building where he proceeded to rape her. A coroner concluded that the 5’3,” 100-pound O’Donnell had been strangled by her bra strap.
Johnson admitted to investigators that he had in fact raped the victim but did not beat and kill her. The young man’s DNA was left on O’Donnell, and the videos — along with his confession — was evidence enough to get a conviction.
According to Johnson’s attorneys Gary Server and Lee Mendell, they argue that their client is innocent because he was born with brain damage and therefore his mental health deficiencies are that of an 11-year-old child. The lawyers are adamant about the fact that Johnson is intellectually unable to provide police with the confession that they have attributed to him. The defense team also contend that Johnson’s DNA was inconclusive.
After Johnson was pronounced guilty, he showed no remorse and still insisted that he is innocent of the crimes. “I understand how the family feel about their loss, but how can you clearly say I did anything?” Johnson, 20, responded. “I didn’t do nothing. I understand where they coming from, but I didn’t have nobody die the way they said. I didn’t have no interaction with her,” reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
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