Charges in killing of woman, daughter

Posted: January 12, 2014

BRISTOL TWP. A Bristol Township man was charged Friday with fatally stabbing a woman who was five months pregnant and her 4-year-old daughter, and setting their bodies on fire, in late November.

Authorities said they had zeroed in on Marcel Emmanuel Johnson, 21, as a suspect on the day of the killings, Nov. 25, and were able to put him in jail within hours on unrelated charges involving drugs and unpaid parking tickets.

In the following weeks, police built their case, which included DNA evidence and a criminal informant who said that in jail, Johnson confessed to the slayings, according to the affidavit filed against him.

Johnson stabbed Ebony Capri Talley, 22, and her daughter R'Mani Rankins at the Avalon Court apartments and then "incinerated them like human garbage," said Matt Weintraub, chief of prosecution for the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

Johnson was friends with Talley, and both lived in the apartment development, police said. Johnson's motive remains unclear, Weintraub said.

Johnson told an informant in jail that "Ebony made me kill her" and that he killed R'Mani because she was "real smart" and could identify him, court documents stated. Skin found under Johnson's fingernails on the day of the murders matched Talley's DNA, police said. Witnesses allegedly placed him near or at her apartment before and after the killings.

Talley was still alive when Johnson set her on fire, Weintraub said, adding that the District Attorney's Office would consider seeking the death penalty.

Johnson has remained in jail since the day of the killings.

610-313-8118 @Ben_Finley

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