In a strange turn of events in the Sabina Rose O’Donnell murder case, admitted killer, 18-year-old Donte Johnson, did not enter a guilty plea at a hearing this morning. Though just last month Johnson agreed at his pre-trial to plead guilty to the rape and murder of the Northern Liberties waitress, the accused has since sought new counsel.
Philadelphia Weekly reports the Johnson family was unhappy with court-appointed attorney Lee Mandell, who’d persuaded Johnson into entering a guilty plea in exchange for eliminating the possibility of the death penalty.
Private attorney Douglas Dolfman has taken over, and after being granted a postponement from the judge, will likely work to bring the case to trial.
A status hearing is scheduled for January 5.