For Immediate Release 6/15/15
Michael Douglas, also known as Michael Johnson, was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison for the murder of his longtime girlfriend and mother of his children, Rockelle Harper. Douglas was convicted of second-degree murder and weapons charges. Assistant State’s Attorney Charles Blomquist prosecuted the case.
Harper was murdered in the 1600 block of McKean Ave in West Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. After an argument between Douglas and Harper inside their home, Douglas retrieved a revolver and shot Harper at point blank range in the head.
Douglas told investigators that Harper shot herself after learning that Douglas had been unfaithful to her.
Blomquist brought ballistics experts to court to testify against Douglas’ version of events. Blomquist argued that Harper had gun residue on her hand because she had grabbed the barrel of the gun in an attempt to push it away from her head as Douglas was about to fire the weapon. A forensic soot dispersal analysis revealed that the evidence was consistent with Blomquist’s version of events.
Harper’s 11 year old son testified against his step-father, Douglas. According to Blomquist it was an especially emotional testimony.
“[Harper’s son] is a very brave and thoughtful kid who was asked to do something no child should ever have to do.” Blomquist said. “This case has generational impacts on [the couple’s children], who are going to grow up with this experience that will never leave them.”
Harper’s sister testified to the rocky relationship the two shared, and the domestic violence issues that frequently occurred.
“Women are typically killed by the people closest to them. I commend Charles for ensuring that Douglas got the sentence he deserved, but we as members of law enforcement must do more to prevent these tragedies on the front end.” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said. “Our Special Victims prosecutors and social workers aggressively leverage local resources dedicated to survivors of domestic violence to keep women and children safe from further harm or harassment.”
Last year, Maryland became the last state in the union to lower its evidentiary standard to a “preponderance of evidence,” for domestic violence survivors to have protective orders sworn out on their behalf. Mosby has asked state and local officials for increased funding to hire more sexual assault and domestic violence social workers.