Watch CBS News

In Bucks County Court, Weighing Life or Death for Convicted Murderer

by Jim Melwert

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- Testimony continues today in Bucks County, in a hearing on whether or not a Bristol Township, Pa. man should be sentenced to death for the brutal murders of a pregnant woman and her four-year-old daughter in 2013.

The defense has spent hours tracing the family history of the defendant, 22-year-old Marcel Johnson, from his birth on the couch of what was described as a "filthy" home, to his mother running from and then going back to his abusive father, and reports of abuse towards him, including during his teenage years when his mother tied him to a radiator and whipped him with an electrical cord.  According to a report his brother said it was like whipping a slave.

Johnson's trial is now in the penalty phase, following his conviction on two counts of first-degree murder for stabbing Ebony Talley, who was five months pregnant, 37 times, and her four year-old daughter, R'Mani Rankins.



View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.