Man who sought mental health treatment receives 14-30 years in prison for beating Homewood to death


On the eve of beating a man to death in Pittsburgh’s Homewood in 2020, Marlon Johnson sought help with homicidal and suicidal tendencies at an outpatient mental health treatment center in the area.

Instead of referring him to hospital care, as he had received twice before, Johnson was cleared to leave shortly after arriving – despite finding he had poor judgment, poor insight and a poor impulse control.

The next day, at his cousin’s request, Johnson beat 63-year-old Roger Brown to death.

Johnson, 33, was sentenced to 14 to 30 years state prison on Tuesday for third degree murder. His cousin, Madera Johnson, who also pleaded guilty to third degree murder, will be sentenced at a later date. A plea agreement provides for a prison sentence of 12-1 / 2 to 30 years.

During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski allowed Marlon Johnson’s plea to be treated as a guilty decision but suffering from an illness. mental health, which will require the state’s Department of Corrections to place him in a facility that provides mental health care. processing.

Pittsburgh Police said Madera Johnson urged her cousin to attack Brown as he walked down Frankstown Avenue on the afternoon of June 19, 2020. Video from the area showed both Johnsons kicking and punches Rogers until he fell to the ground.

A witness reported that the dispute started a week earlier when Madera Johnson stole $ 20 from Brown. When he saw her that day on the street, Brown used a curse on her, prompting her to solicit her cousin to attack her.

Marlon Johnson wore heavy boots during the attack, Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Ramaley said. Brown suffered three skull fractures, as well as bleeding in his brain.

He died two days later.

His son, Samuel Miller-Brown, said in a victim impact statement that he sat with his father for 12 hours after taking out life support before his death.

“It hurts,” he said.

Defense attorney Christopher Patarini told Sasinoski that Marlon Johnson was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and received treatment for it over the years.

Johnson’s bizarre behavior, including giving his shoes to strangers on the basis of religious beliefs, led to his prior incarceration at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Patarini said.

After being hospitalized twice at Western Psych, on June 16, 2020, Johnson reported to crisis resolution services in Wilkinsburg with aggressive tendencies and thoughts of homicide and suicide, his lawyer said.

He was fired from Resolve, but returned two days later. Again, he was allowed to leave.

A message left with UPMC, which includes Resolve Crisis Services, was not immediately returned.

Paula Reed Ward is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paula by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .


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