Suspect in NoLibs killing going to trial

January 5, 2011 10:35:57 AM PST
The suspect in a high-profile murder last summer in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia will go on trial.

In a follow-up court date on Wednesday, Donte Johnson and his lawyer stated their intention to go to trial in the killing of 20-year-old Sabina O'Donnell.

Johnson was expected to plead guilty back in December, but instead fired his court-appointed attorney.

He appeared with a different attorney on Wednesday.

Authorities say Johnson initially tried to rob O'Donnell of her bike outside her Northern Liberties apartment as she was returning home from her waitressing job on June 2nd, 2010, but the attack escalated.

Police say O'Donnell died of strangulation and was sexually assaulted.

Prosecutors previously said Johnson confessed to the killing and DNA evidence from the crime scene linked him to the attack.

Prompted by surveillance footage and an anonymous tip, police began searching for Johnson after O'Donnell's body was discovered.

His mother later arranged for him to turn himself in to police.

Johnson is scheduled to next appear in court on January 18th.