FOX 31 Special Report: Victim of Violence
She was only four when her mom was murdered. Now, she's grown up and attending college. She's speaking out about what it's like growing up as a unintended victim of violent crime.
Angela Sizemore was drinking at an old Albany bar called Fundamentals on March 24, 1994. She went to a funeral earlier that day. She went home with Marcus Ray Johnson, never to be seen alive again.
"If it wasn't for my mom wanting to keep me safe, and my mom choosing to stay with my dad, she may have been OK. She may have not been at that certain place at that certain time," said Sizemore's daughter, Katie Barker.
Barker, now 20, was only 4-years-old when Johnson killed her mother.
"It's just what I would love for him to realize is you didn't just hurt one person. You hurt an entire family."
Johnson tortured, raped, and stabbed Sizemore. Investigators believe Sizemore was killed near 16th Avenue. Her body was found in East Albany. A Dougherty County jury sentenced Johnson to death on April 7, 1998.
Before he was district attorney, Greg Edwards prosecuted the case.
"It was a crime of extreme violence and that's why I recommended that the death penalty be sought in the case at that time," Edwards said.
"I guess just a quirk of fate. We had a witness who indicated that Marcus Ray Johnson actually went after her and she was not brought into his web, so to speak, at that point at Fundamentals. Unfortunately, Ms. Sizemore was."
That quirk of fate changed Barker's life forever.
"My mom wasn't there for my first day of school," Barker said. "She wasn't there for my first day of high school. She wasn't there for my senior prom. She won't be there when I get married or have my first child."
Barker is working through the pain. She is active at church, works at Harvest Moon and is signed up for classes at Darton College.
"You can sit there and you can dwell on it and cry about it and be mad at the world, but it doesn't solve anything because the only person you're hurting is yourself when you do that."
Barker has seen Johnson once before-at his trial. Now, she wants to meet him face-to-face.
"'What you did was wrong, but I forgive you.' I know that's what my mom would've done."
A mom she never really got to know, but remembers well.
"One thing that really stands out to me was her laugh. She had one of those laughs that when you hear it, it just makes everyone around you happy."
Johnson is appealing his death sentence. If executed, he would be the first Dougherty County man put to death since the 1950s. You can find more information on Johnson's case here.