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.

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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.

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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.

 

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