The teenager accused of raping and strangling Sabina Rose O’Donnell, a popular Northern Liberties waitress, wept yesterday as he waived a preliminary hearing and then was held for trial on murder and related offenses.
Donte Johnson, 18, sobbed aloud and repeatedly put his face in his hands before Common Pleas Court Judge Jimmie Moore. The thin defendant also whispered “this is crazy” as he waived the hearing.
Police say Johnson attacked O’Donnell, 20, early on June 2 outside her apartment near Fourth and Girard after spotting her on a bike. He then allegedly beat, strangled and raped her before going into the building where she lived and was chased out by another woman, police claim. O’Donnell’s naked body was found in a grassy lot next to her building later that day.
After police released surveillance footage, Johnson’s mom arranged for him to surrender June 15.
Prosecutors claim Johnson confessed to police that he wanted the bike, and that DNA conclusively links him to the crime.
“She was beaten badly and that was in an effort to subdue a strong, feisty young lady,” Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax said after the hearing. “He was clearly out of control.”
Johnson’s defense attorney, Guy Sciolla, declined to speak with reporters following the hearing.