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Lancaster police: man murdered 2-year-old by punching, kicking - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster County

Lancaster police: man murdered 2-year-old by punching, kicking

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© Justin Bachman © Justin Bachman
LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) -

Lancaster City Police say Lester L. Johnson, 30, killed two-year-old Ranasia Knight by punching and kicking her multiple times.

Johnson, the boyfriend of Knight's mother, has been arrested and charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He is being held in Lancaster County Prison without bail. 

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday, police were dispatched to the 500 block of East Ross Street for a report of a child injured in a fall. Police say Knight was in and out of consciousness when they arrived. She was taken to the hospital but life saving procedures were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at 4:18 a.m.  

Lancaster police say the injuries appear to have been inflicted early Friday morning but 911 wasn't called until early Saturday.

At the hospital, Knight had clear bruising near her right eye and appeared to have a bloated abdomen.

Police say they questioned the child's mother and her boyfriend, Johnson, after the initial police call but released them. Following an autopsy that ruled the death a homicide by multiple traumatic injuries, Johnson and the child's mother were questioned again on Monday evening. 

Police say Johnson, also known as "Face," then admitted to beating the child and was arrested.

Police say Johnson both punched Knight in the area of the face and head and kicked her in the abdomen multiple times.  Police say Johnson's acts caused multiple internal injuries that  ultimately resulted in the child's death.

The investigation into Knight's death is ongoing.

Three other children living in Johnson's East Ross Street home have been removed from the home by child services. It is believed that Johnson is the father of those children.

In an unrelated 2005 case, Johnson pleaded guilty to two charges of simple assault and one charge each of receiving stolen property, possessing a firearm not to be carried without a license, recklessly endangering another person and terroristic threats. In 2008, he plead guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking and criminal conspiracy.

For the 2008 offenses, he served seven months between 2008 to 2009. For the earlier offenses, he served 21 months between 2005 and 2007. He also served for a short period of time in 2010 and twice in 2011. He was most recently released on October 3, 2011. 

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