Scheduled for execution on Sept. 10, the man who killed 2-year-old Darisabel Baez filed for a stay Tuesday in York County Common Pleas Court.
Harve Johnson, 32, was convicted of first-degree murder on Nov. 13, 2009 for the fatal April 2008 beating of his girlfriend's daughter. Gov. Tom Corbett signed his death warrant on July 18.
This is Johnson's first death warrant and avenues of appeal remain open to him.
This request for an emergency stay of execution also includes a motion for a post-conviction review of his trial and death sentence. The motion does
not identify any alleged trial errors.
According to court documents, Johnson does not at this time have an attorney but is requesting Michael Wiseman, a Philadelphia capital defense attorney, to represent him.
Wiseman represented Johnson on his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and death sentence on April 26, 2012. Wiseman also signed the documents filed Tuesday in York County court.
Much of the filing requesting the stay of execution and a post-conviction review is a boilerplate outline of a condemned inmate's constitutional rights.
A Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) hearing focuses on the actions of the defense leading up to and during trial, and challenges whether
the defense provided to the defendant was zealous and effective in its representation. A finding of ineffectiveness of counsel results in a new trial.
In his concluding paragraph in the request for a stay, Wiseman states, "This court should not allow Mr. Johnson to be executed without a meaningful opportunity to investigate and develop claims for relief, and for those claims to be fully and fairly heard."
Johnson's week-long trial ended with two hours of deliberation before the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.
April 6, 2008 - York City Police officers rush to a second-floor apartment at 710 W. Philadelphia St. after county control sends out a dispatch for a 2-year-old in cardiac arrest.
April 7, 2008 - Darisabel Baez, 2, dies at Hershey Medical Center from multiple blunt force trauma. Her mother's boyfriend, Harve Johnson, is arrested on murder charges and jailed without bail.
Aug. 8, 2008 - The York County District Attorney's Office files an intent to seek the death penalty.
Nov. 9, 2009 - Johnson is prosecuted for capital murder.
Nov. 13, 2009 - A jury convicts Johnson of first-degree murder.
Nov. 16, 2009 - The jury agrees on a sentence of death.
April. 26, 2012 - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirms Johnson's conviction and death sentence on direct appeal.
July 18, 2013 - Gov. Tom Corbett signs Johnson's first death warrant, scheduling execution for Sept. 10.
July 23, 2013 - Johnson, through an attorney not yet appointed to represent him, files an emergency motion for a stay of execution and a post-conviction relief hearing. http://www.ydr.com/crime/ci_23715253/harve-johnson-seeks-stay-execution