Man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend

The victim was repeatedly hit in the head with a baseball bat.
LISBON -- A man will spend at least 18 years in prison after killing his pregnant girlfriend after a two-day cocaine binge.
Brandon W. Johnson, who turned 19 last week, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Johnson was accused of killing Tiffany D. Faulk, who was about 15 weeks pregnant, early Aug. 16, 2004. The murder charge was for her death, and the manslaughter was for the unborn child, officials said.
Authorities said Johnson repeatedly hit Faulk in the head with a metal baseball bat. The killing occurred near the intersection of Grape Alley and Edgewood Street in East Liverpool. Faulk was dead when police arrived.
Judge David Tobin sentenced Johnson to 15 years to life on the murder charge and to three years in prison on the involuntary manslaughter charge. Judge Tobin ordered that the sentences run consecutively.
The judge noted in court records, "This is the worst form of these offenses."
The judge also noted that Johnson had a pattern of alcohol and drug abuse that had not been treated.
Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said Johnson committed the murder after partying for two days after ripping off a crack dealer. Johnson was drinking and using crack cocaine.
Residents saw the attack and called police. Johnson was arrested a few hours later and was treated at the East Liverpool City Hospital for minor injuries he sustained while fleeing in a wooded area.
Johnson gave statements to authorities at the hospital and at the county jail later that day.
Court records said Johnson became "agitated and extremely upset by the questioning."
Gamble said there were questions about whether the statements were taken properly, but in both, Johnson indicated his guilt.
Johnson, Gamble said, "never really explained" his reason for the attack.
Members of Faulk's family were at the sentencing but did not comment.
Johnson gave his parents' East Liverpool address in court records. Gamble said that he was a "transient."
The records also show Johnson had no money or property.
"He had a very questionable group of friends, some of whom wound up being witnesses against him," Gamble said.
County Prosecutor Robert Herron has been trying to warn the county about a growing drug problem.
County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike last week warned that the county has a problem. He spoke after sentencing a man convicted of beating another man to death during a fake drug buy.

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