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Penalty Phase of Bucks County Double-Murder Case Heads To Jury

By Jim Melwert

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- Closing arguments were being held this afternoon as a man convicted of killing a pregnant woman and her four-year-old daughter in Bucks County tries to escape the death penalty.

The same jury of nine men and six women who found Marcel Johnson guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Ebony Talley and her daughter R'mani Rankins in 2013 must now decide if Johnson, 22, gets life in prison or will be sentenced to death.

The final prosecution witness in this "penalty phase" of the trial, psychiatrist Dr. John O'Brien, disputed claims from defense experts who claimed that Johnson suffered from brain damage due to neglect and abuse during his childhood.

O'Brien also testified he saw no evidence that Johnson suffered an extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time of the murders.

Rather than mental illness, Dr. O'Brien testified, the pages and pages of records he read showed misbehavior seeking attention by a smart, manipulative kid.

Stay tuned to KYW Newsradio, CBS3, and for updates on this story as they become available.


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