By: Harold Hayes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The suspect in the 2007 murder of an elderly woman in Clairton has been found guilty.

According to KDKA’s Harold Hayes, Johnie “Trey” Washington was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 82-year-old Florence Ranta.

The jury heard final instructions from the judge Friday morning before deliberations began. The deliberation process then lasted for only an hour-and-a-half.

During closing arguments, Defense Attorney Elliot Howsie told the jury that given his mental health history, the defendant could not form the intent to kill.

However, Prosecutor Lisa Pellegrini slammed her hand against the brick used to beat the victim, and pointed to the knife used to stab her and said all that proves intent to kill.

The prosecution wanted a first-degree murder conviction. Washington now faces life in prison because he was 15-years-old at the time of the incident.

The defense was arguing for a third-degree murder conviction which would have only carried a 20- to 40-year sentence.

Among the items the defense showed the jury was a petition Washington’s family filed with juvenile court hoping he would be placed in another setting. They complained about his behavior and marijuana use two months before the murder.

However, the petition wasn’t acted on quickly. A hearing was scheduled a month after the murder happened and an application for a boot camp was approved the day Ranta was discovered beaten and stabbed.


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