A Lancaster City man is being kept behind bars without bail after police say he brutally beat a 2-year-old girl to death. Lester L. Johnson, 30, of Lancaster, was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Ranasia Knight was only two-years-old when police say she was killed, by her mother’s boyfriend.
Justin Bachman, Knight’s uncle says the feeling is a hard thing to grasp. “No one knows how it feels to bury a two-year-old.”
Bachman says, he doesn’t know what to think. He just found out that police say his niece, was killed by Lester Johnson. Johnson was Knight’s mother’s boyfriend. “He was a decent guy. He took care of his kids and did all that stuff.” Bachman said about Johnson. “I don’t know. I never saw any of them hurt their kids, especially my sister.”
Around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning officers were called to a home along the 500 block of East Ross Street for a report of an injured child who fell. Emergency personnel took 2-year-old Ranasia Knight to Lancaster General Hospital where she later died.
An autopsy revealed that Ranasia died from multiple traumatic injuries. A forensic pathologist ruled her death a homicide. Both the child’s mother and Johnson, the mother’s boyfriend, were interviewed by police.
Police say Johnson punched and kicked Ranasia in the face and abdomen numerous times which lead to multiple internal injuries and ultimately her death.
Johnson was arrested soon after and charged with criminal homicide. Court papers say the 30-year-old, also known as “Face”, admitted to punching Ranasia in the head and then kicking her in the stomach while she was on the floor, but he never called for medical help to save her.
A neighbour who has known the family for a year says this doesn’t surprise them. “Does this surprise you? No. It doesn’t surprise you? No. Why would you say that? I don’t want to talk anymore. I don’t want to get in trouble.”
Johnson lived in the house with Ranasia’s mom. They had four kids between them.
Johnson has a previous criminal record of assault and other violent crimes. “I want justice done if he did this,” Bachman said.
Johnson is currently sitting in the Lancaster Prison without bail. The other children have been removed from the house.