Harve Lamar Johnson
Harve Lamar Johnson (submitted)

Harve Lamar Johnson, the former York City man sentenced to death for brutally beating 2-year-old Darisabel Baez, filed for a stay of execution Tuesday in the York County Court of Common Pleas.

Johnson, 32, and currently being held in state prison, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2009 for the beating death of Darisabel, his girlfriend's daughter.

The motion for a stay of execution comes less than a week after Gov. Tom Corbett signed Johnson's execution warrant on July 18.

In the motion, capital defense attorney Michael Wiseman of the Philadelphia area is requesting to be appointed Johnson's counsel as he moves through post-conviction review proceedings.

Wiseman wrote in the motion that a stay is needed in order for the review to take place.

Appeals: Wiseman represented Johnson when he appealed his conviction and death sentence to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2012. The court affirmed the conviction.

The attorney also represented the condemned man's request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the conviction. The high court denied the request, the motion says.

The majority of the motion outlines Johnson's constitutional right to a stay of execution and the review.

"This stay of execution is required to ensure that Mr. Johnson is afforded a meaningful opportunity to properly investigate, research, prepare and litigate his (review) petition," Wiseman wrote in the motion.

Beating: Darisabel died April 7, 2008, the day after police were called to the West Philadelphia Street home she shared with her mother, Neida Baez, and Johnson, who was Baez's live-in boyfriend.

Johnson badly beat Darisabel for 45 minutes to an hour, prosecutors said, angry because the child's soiled diaper "exploded" onto the rug while he was spanking her.

An autopsy report indicates Darisabel's wounds, some of which came from a video-game controller, were widespread and severe, including injuries to the brain, chest, heart and liver.

Darisabel's mother, Neida Elizabeth Baez, 25, pleaded guilty in 2009 to third-degree murder as part of a negotiated plea agreement and was sentenced in December to five to 10 years in state prison. Johnson's execution by lethal injection is scheduled for Sept. 10, but if the stay is granted, it will be delayed.

His warrant is the 27th execution warrant signed by Corbett, according to the governor's office.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.