2-year-old brutally beaten and left for dead in Lancaster

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It’s an unimaginable story. A 2-year-old girl is dead after being brutally beaten by her mother’s boyfriend at their home on the 500 block of East Ross Street. Police say emergency workers found Ranasia Knight in and out of consciousness early Saturday morning after they got a call that she had fallen down the steps.  An autopsy performed Monday revealed otherwise. Police are now ruling her death a homicide and charging her mother’s live-in boyfriend Lester Johnson.

Police say Johnson punched the child in the head, splitting her retina and blinding her in the right eye. He is accused of then kicking her in the stomach several times while she was on the ground, injuring her internal organs.

“What excuse is there. Two years and I think nine months, what excuse is there for anybody to punch anybody in the head and kick her in the torso while she’s down.  And then not call for emergency services,” said District Attorney Craig Stedman.  ” The victim can’t speak for herself anymore and that’s going to be our job. We’re going to be the victim’s voice in the courtroom and make sure that justice is done. It’s despicable and obviously criminal and we a got a long road ahead of us. ”

Ranasia’s uncle wants answers. “I never saw any of them hurt their kids. He was a decent guy he took care of his kids he did all that stuff but I don’t know.  I mean I want justice if he did do this,” said Justin Bachman.

Johnson is in Lancaster County Prison without bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on January 25th.  Three other children have been removed from the home by Children and Youth Services.


  • Joanne Seaks

    Where was the mother when this happened to her child?If she was there and watched what happened or new this happened and did nothing,she needs to go to jail to.

  • Guest

    Are these kind of murders of little children never going to end I agree with Paul W. We need to bring back the death penalty and enforce it! This is sickening at least the baby is with Jesus now!

  • Guest

    This is a terrible story. I can NOT believe that someone would have the ability to do this to a child. If you cant handle her, why didn't you take her to someone who could, instead of killing her. The way things are these days, and the total lack of respect for someone else's life .. we definately DO need stronger punishments!

  • chris

    I cannot understand why someone would hurt a child. I have grandchildren around this age and i cannot ever imagine myself doing anything remotely like this to them. Crucify the rotten bastard!

  • Janice T

    I am so sick of seeing this everyday and 8 times out of 10 its a boyfriend or stepfather, are women these days so damn desperate they can't get a decent guy so they just drag anything who will have them & let them hurt their babies, no, when people say oh he was a good guy, no he wasn't and prolly had hit the kids before & got away with it so it just gets worse, if the law in every state doesn't start changing these law's & enforce life in jail or death penality,this is going to continue over the past 2yrs I have seen so far about 450 case's almost exactly like this one & even on younger babies, 6wk old in Pa, 13 month old in Va, 3yr old in NC,4 mo old Wis. I could go on and on, people need to stand up & protest, our future is dying off one by one, demand justice, demand new law's, go to the site Million March Against Child Abuse in Washington,DC or your state & fight for our kids ,all of them !

  • Valerie

    That would be to kind! They need to beat them to near death and then make them recover without pain meds and then do it again!

  • Thomas

    From what I have heard on this the Mother didn't see it being done , but helped to try and cover it up. She broke down under pressure from detectives and turned on her boyfriend . She will not be arrested. A friend in L.P.D. said she will be testifying at the up coming hearing.

  • Paula

    The mother should also be charged if she tried to cover this up!! How many times has he beat on this little girl before he killed her?? We al know that a beating like this was NOT the first one!! Anyone who could beat on and harm a child is nothing but a SCUMBAG and should be put in jail with the other inmates for life!! Lets see what they think of this baby killer!!!



    • cassandra

      I totally agree, the death penalty is the easy way out for them. Let them rot inside and they will get whats coming to them off all the other prisoners.

  • tracey

    He should be put right into main population and not protective custody is where he probably is rotten bastard. I have a grandson that is almost 3 and could never imagine what he could do for someone to do that. The mother had to know something and she should be charge with neglecting the situation and trying to cover it up. He will get beaten and hopefully raped in jail by the ones that are doing life. The inmates hate child murders and child molesters. I hope they both rot in hell. If I came home and saw what he did to my child the police would have to arrest me for murder. I don't care if it was the father of the baby, a mother's job is to PROTECT their children.

  • consaka

    There will be no justice. The only justice is for this person to get the death penalty by beating. He will get jail time at the taxpayers expense and then eventually parole.

  • matt

    Screw the court system! This guy is going to sit there with 3 hot and a cot on our dollar for years til he gets his. Eye for an eye at this point. Give me 5 minutes with the piece of trash or better yet some good ole fashion public stoning should be implemented.

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