KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The man convicted of killing and beheading a 3-year-old girl known for years as "Precious Doe” wrote numerous jailhouse letters to his wife, urging her to change her story and reject a plea deal.
The Kansas City Star, which obtained the letters through a public-records request with prosecutors, reported Monday that Harrell Johnson’s letters to Michelle Johnson assured her they could beat the case and proposed a new story blaming the death of her daughter, Erica Green, on another man.
Michelle Johnson pleaded guilty in the 2001 death and agreed to testify against Harrell Johnson, whom she married after Erica died. Her decision to testify changed his tone from loving and concerned to threatening and vulgar.
The Johnsons were originally from Muskogee, OK, and it was a Muskogee relative who gave police a tip that led to identifying Erica and the conviction.
"And now (I’m going to) make sure you get ran over personally,” he wrote in a letter dated Sept. 8, 2008, about a month before his trial. "Tell ’em how you use to beat and leave Erica in that room with no TV, no nothing … for hours while you … smoked (crack).”
Michelle Johnson testified at Harrell Johnson’s trial that he was high on drugs and kicked Erica in the head because the girl wouldn’t go to bed.