Convicted killer tries to get off death row

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Rayshawn Johnson covered his eyes Wednesday as Prosecutor Joe Deters described in detail how Johnson beat his neighbor to death 14 years ago with a baseball bat.

The gruesome details of the murder were being presented to a new Hamilton County jury after an appeals court ordered a new sentencing for Johnson because his lawyers didn't fully investigate his abusive childhood.

Shortly after being seated, the jury was driven to the three story Victorian home in East Walnut Hills where the murder took place.  They also saw the house where Johnson lived with his grandmother, which is just a few yards away.

Deters says Johnson would watch his neighbor, Shannon Marks, and knew her routine.  He said Johnson decided to rob Marks on November 12, 1997, armed with a baseball bat.  Johnson savagely beat Marks before stealing $50 from her purse. But before leaving Johnson struck Marks three more times.  Marks was found hours later by her husband, who was planning on a celebration of the couple's third wedding anniversary.

Defense attorney Will Welsh says Johnson should not be executed because he was raised by an abusive and alcoholic grandmother and his mother was a drug addicted prostitute.

Testimony begins Thursday morning and closing statements could begin as early as next Monday.

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