Jordan Clemons – black, age 23
Sentenced to death in Washington County, Pennsylvania
Date of crime: 01/2012
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Clemons slashed his ex-girlfriend’s, Karissa Kunco, throat and abandoned her body. The defense tried to argue that Clemons was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and therefore he should be found guilty of third-degree murder. The defense also presented testimony of Clemons’ father who stated that Clemons had a terrible childhood because he beat Clemons and was not a good role model.
Sources: Pittsburgh Tribune Review 5/12/15 (2015 WLNR 13967521), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 5/15/15 (2015 WLNR 14276727)
Marcel Johnson – black, age 20
Sentenced to death in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Date of crime: 11/25/13
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson killed pregnant, Ebony Talley, and her daughter, R’Mani Rankins. R’Mani was forced to witness the killing of her mother and then was stabbed in the chest. Talley was involved with a heroin-selling business with Johnson and Johnson killed her to secure business for himself and killed her daughter because she was a witness. Then he set fire to the apartment in an attempt to destroy evidence. Johnson was charged with first-degree murder of Talley and R’Mani as well as third-degree murder of Talley’s fetus. The prosecution presented evidence from the autopsy to show that Johnson intended to kill the fetus before he killed the mother because he stabbed her in the stomach in a way that only would have killed the fetus. The prosecution stressed that Johnson deserved the death sentence because of his cruelty of killing R’Mani. The defense tried to argue that Johnson’s childhood was to blame because he was abused and none of his family came to visit him during his trial.
Sources: Bucks County Courier Times 6/9/15 (2015 WLNR 16971919), Bucks County Courier Times 6/10/15 (2015 WLNR 17090460)