Quick Conviction in Northern Liberties Murder of Sabina O’Donnell
By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia jury today quickly convicted Donte Johnson, 20, of the June 2010 rape and murder of a young woman in Northern Liberties.
Prosecutors had presented DNA evidence and video surveillance that implicated Johnson, and Johnson himself had made — then recanted — a confession to police when he was first arrested (see related story).
The body of 20-year-old Sabina Rose O’Donnell was found near her Northern Liberties home. The bicycle she was riding home from a friend’s house was not at the crime scene, and Johnson told police he had originally planned to take the woman’s bike.
After just a few hours of deliberation, the jury this morning returned a guilty verdict on the charge of first-degree murder and four other felonies (see previous story).
Johnson was handed a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Just before handing down the maximum sentence, the judge told Johnson, “I believe you lack any sense of normal human decency, any empathy that most human beings have,” adding, “I believe you are an extreme danger to the public.”
Johnson chose not to speak before sentencing, but afterward repeated that he “didn’t do it.”
Judge Glenn Bronson replied, “I have never seen a case with such overwhelming evidence,” adding, “I do not have a scintilla of doubt that you did it.”