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Edia Lawrence Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2017 PA Murder of Ahshantianna Johnson
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Thread: Edia Lawrence Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2017 PA Murder of Ahshantianna Johnson

  1. #1
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    Edia Lawrence Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2017 PA Murder of Ahshantianna Johnson




    Death penalty sought in Mount Wolf woman's homicide


    By Liz Scolforo
    The York Dispatch

    An 18-year old Bronx man who attended Northeastern High School is facing the death penalty for allegedly murdering Ahshantianna Johnson outside her Mount Wolf home.

    Edia Antonio Lawrence, who goes by "Richie," was in York County Court Friday morning for his formal court arraignment on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit that offense, second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, theft, simple assault and receiving stolen property.

    Chief deputy prosecutor David Maisch said the York County District Attorney's Office is citing two aggravating factors to argue for the death penalty.

    First, he said, Johnson was killed during the course of another felony specifically, robbery. The second is that the slaying occurred as part of a drug-delivery operation, Maisch said.

    Lawrence's alleged accomplices in the homicide remain at large, the prosecutor confirmed.

    'A little surprised': Philadelphia-based defense attorney Jack McMahon said he intends to defend the case vigorously.

    "We were a little surprised they're seeking the death penalty. He's only an 18-year-old young man," he said.

    McMahon noted that the only identification of Lawrence being involved is a voice identification.

    "I think that's a bit suspect," he said. "We think the defendant did not do this."

    McMahon said it's a sad case.

    "But just because it's sad doesn't mean he's guilty," the attorney said.

    Prosecutors consulted with Johnson's family and Northeastern Regional Police before deciding to seek the death penalty, according to Maisch, who said Johnson's family supports the decision.

    Lawrence's first pretrial conference is scheduled for Oct. 16.

    The background: Three armed, masked men, allegedly including Lawrence, fatally beat the 19-year-old Johnson at her Second Street home because Lawrence believed she'd stolen his drug money and vowed to "take care of it," according to charging documents.

    About 2:15 a.m. March 25, the trio barged into the home Johnson shared with her mother, Noemi Capo, and started stealing property, documents state.

    One of the men threatened Capo with a metal baseball bat and a knife, demanding she call her daughter and have her come home, police said.

    An 18-year old Bronx man who attended Northeastern High School is facing the death penalty for allegedly murdering Ahshantianna Johnson outside her Mount Wolf home.

    Edia Antonio Lawrence, who goes by "Richie," was in York County Court Friday morning for his formal court arraignment on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit that offense, second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, theft, simple assault and receiving stolen property.

    Chief deputy prosecutor David Maisch said the York County District Attorney's Office is citing two aggravating factors to argue for the death penalty.

    First, he said, Johnson was killed during the course of another felony specifically, robbery. The second is that the slaying occurred as part of a drug-delivery operation, Maisch said.

    Lawrence's alleged accomplices in the homicide remain at large, the prosecutor confirmed.

    'A little surprised': Philadelphia-based defense attorney Jack McMahon said he intends to defend the case vigorously.

    "We were a little surprised they're seeking the death penalty. He's only an 18-year-old young man," he said.

    McMahon noted that the only identification of Lawrence being involved is a voice identification.

    "I think that's a bit suspect," he said. "We think the defendant did not do this."

    McMahon said it's a sad case.

    "But just because it's sad doesn't mean he's guilty," the attorney said.

    Prosecutors consulted with Johnson's family and Northeastern Regional Police before deciding to seek the death penalty, according to Maisch, who said Johnson's family supports the decision.

    Lawrence's first pretrial conference is scheduled for Oct. 16.

    The background: Three armed, masked men, allegedly including Lawrence, fatally beat the 19-year-old Johnson at her Second Street home because Lawrence believed she'd stolen his drug money and vowed to "take care of it," according to charging documents.

    About 2:15 a.m. March 25, the trio barged into the home Johnson shared with her mother, Noemi Capo, and started stealing property, documents state.

    One of the men threatened Capo with a metal baseball bat and a knife, demanding she call her daughter and have her come home, police said.

    Capo eventually reached Johnson by phone and told her she needed to come home because there was a family emergency, documents state.

    While awaiting Johnson's return home, Lawrence instructed one of his accomplices to move Lawrence's car a 2011 BMW 328x1 from where it was parked behind the home, explaining that Johnson would recognize his car, charging documents allege.

    He also allegedly instructed one of the accomplices to get the duct tape from his car, documents state. While threatening Capo, Lawrence spoke about killing her sons, charging documents allege.

    'Beady' eyes: Capo later told investigators she recognized "Richie's" voice and "beady eyes," documents state. Capo, who didn't know Lawrence's real name, told investigators that Johnson had been dating "Richie," whom she knew from Northeastern High School, police said.

    Capo escaped from the trio while they were distracted; she ran to a neighbor's house and called 911, police said.

    That's the same time Johnson returned home and was fatally attacked in her yard, according to police.

    Northeastern Regional Detective Brian O'Melko tracked down witnesses who told him Lawrence was selling drugs to other drug dealers and that Johnson had collected money from at least two of those dealers on Lawrence's behalf, documents allege.

    'Took care' of it? But Lawrence believed Johnson was skimming money from him and told a witness "he would take care of it," according to charging documents. After the attack, Lawrence told the same witness he "took care of" the problem, police allege.

    Johnson and Lawrence had broken up a few months before she was killed, but she apparently was still working for him, Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo said.

    Whether Johnson was stealing from Lawrence or not doesn't make her death less of a tragedy, according to the chief.

    "She was just trying to make her way through the world," Rizzo said. "Unfortunately, she got hooked up with the wrong person ... and paid for it with her life. It's a tragedy to have such a young life full of promise get mixed up with the wrong crowd."

    Captured in NYC: Lawrence was arrested in New York City on a warrant filed by Northern York County Regional Police, who allege he tried to shoot a man when a drug deal went bad.

    Lawrence, of Torrey Avenue in the Bronx, remains in York County Prison without bail. Police said that, for a time, he lived on Matthews Drive in Conewago Township with his aunt.

    Northeastern Regional Police are asking for the public's help in identifying and arresting the other masked men who attacked and killed Johnson.

    Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call them at (717) 266-6195, ext. 105. Tipsters can remain anonymous, police said.

    http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/ne...ath/458551001/
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    Prosecutors no longer seeking death penalty against man accused of killing girlfriend in Mount Wolf

    By Keith Schweigert
    Fox 43 News

    YORK COUNTY The York County District Attorneys Office is no longer seeking the death penalty in its case against a man accused of beating his girlfriend to death outside her Mount Wolf home in 2017, court documents show.
    Edia Richie Lawrence provided information related to mitigating factors in the case, prosecutors wrote in court documents filed July 12.

    After reviewing the information, prosecutors decided to withdraw their death-penalty bid.

    Lawrence, 20, is still charged with first and second-degree murder and related crimes in the death of Ahshantianna Johnson, 19, on March 30, 2017. Lawrence is accused of breaking into Johnsons home with two other men, wearing masks and armed with baseball bats. He allegedly convinced Johnsons mother to call her and tell her to come home.

    Johnson was beaten to death outside, prosecutors say.

    Lawrence, of the Bronx, New York, was the leader of a drug distribution ring in York, and Johnson, his on-again girlfriend, was working for him in some capacity, according to prosecutors.

    Lawrence is set to go to trial on Sept. 9. Hes being held without bail in York County Prison.

    https://fox43.com/2019/08/13/prosecu...in-mount-wolf/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Senior Member CnCP Addict Steven's Avatar
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    'This man beat her to death:' Trial begins for man charged in homicide in Mount Wolf

    By Dylan Segelbaum
    York Daily Record

    At about 3:40 a.m., Northeastern Regional Police Officer Shaun Goodman was on duty when he received the dispatch from York County 911: Active home invasion. South Second Street. Mount Wolf.

    Goodman was the first person on the scene on March 25, 2017. Newberry Township Police Officer Michael Briar and then-Northern York County Regional Police Officer Lynn Anderson later arrived as backup.

    The home was in disarray. The lights were all on. Dresser drawers were pulled out — it looked like someone had been looking for something, Goodman said.

    When he headed toward the backyard, Goodman heard a noise. That’s when he found Ahshantianna Johnson, whose face was covered in blood.

    “She was fairly unresponsive,” Goodman testified on Tuesday in the York County Judicial Center. “There was just some audible groaning.”

    Later, Johnson’s mother provided him with the name of a suspect: Richie. He was her daughter’s on-again, off-again boyfriend.

    Five days later, Johnson, a full-time cosmetology student and a 2015 graduate of Northeastern High School, died from her injuries. She was 19.

    Edia “Richie” Lawrence, 21, of the Bronx, New York, is standing trial this week in the York County Court of Common Pleas on charges of first- and second-degree murder, robbery, burglary and related offenses. He’s accused of breaking into the house with two other masked men and then carrying out the deadly beating.

    Prosecutors began presenting their case against Lawrence, who they allege had been delivering marijuana from New York to drug dealers in York County.

    Johnson collected money from the local drug dealers. But when she failed to hand over the cash, Lawrence set out to collect the proceeds and make an example out of her, prosecutors said.

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, her name was Ahshantianna Johnson,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Dave Maisch said in his opening statement, “and she was 19 years old when this man beat her to death.”

    Maisch and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Teresa Jauregui called seven witnesses, including Johnson’s mother, Noemi Capo.

    Capo testified that she was awoken at about 2 a.m. and saw two masked men standing in the hallway of her bedroom.

    The lights, she said, were on. The men wouldn’t tell her what they wanted.

    Eventually, Capo went into the kitchen, which is when she saw another masked man taking TVs out of her home. He asked questions about her children and specific items in the house, including a PlayStation 4. She testified that she recognized his distinctive beady eyes and voice: it was Lawrence.

    Next, Lawrence twice hit her 2-year-old pit bull, Ashton, with a baseball bat when the dog lunged, she said.

    At one point, Lawrence asked where her daughter was that night, referring to her by a nickname, Shanti. That’s when one of the other men injected, saying with a Bronx accent that they didn’t know her daughter, Capo testified.

    Lawrence took $20 from her wallet. He made her call the bank while on speakerphone — she testified that she instead dialed the number for a child support account, which had a balance of $3.

    He then threatened to bash her head in, she testified, if she didn’t call and tell her daughter to come home.

    So Capo complied, telling her daughter there was a family emergency. Johnson replied that she couldn’t leave because she was babysitting her niece.

    But Lawrence wasn’t satisfied. Capo said he made her call again. This time, she reported that a family member had died.

    “She said, ‘OK. Is everything OK?’” Capo testified. “And I told her, ‘Yes.’”

    Lawrence, she said, took her cellphone and grinned while looking at it.

    Capo twice asked to use the bathroom. When Lawrence finally agreed, she ran out of the house wearing only a robe and nightgown toward Georgia-Pacific Corp. But no one answered the door at the business, she testified, and the doors were locked.

    “I saw my daughter drive by in her car,” said Capo, who sobbed on the witness stand, “towards the house.”

    Capo testified that she ran and knocked on the door of her best friend’s house and as well as two neighbors' homes. They didn’t answer. She said she then went to her son’s basketball coach’s residence in Manchester.

    Troy McClane Jr. testified that Capo was panicked, scared and shaken.

    McClane said he didn’t ask her any questions. Her feet, he said, were bloody and cut up.

    “She said that three people had broken into her home and tied up her up, and she knew for sure one of them was Richie,” said McClane, who then called 911. “It was multiple times.”

    Later, Dakota Gilbeau testified that Lawrence once asked him to check and see if Johnson was home.

    They were talking via FaceTime. She wasn’t there.

    Lawrence, he said, reported that she owed him about $3,000.

    In his opening statement, Paul Hirsch, one of Lawrence’s attorneys, said prosecutors will not be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Law enforcement, he said, jumped to conclusions. The case then took on a life of its own, he said.

    “Everything was done to prove it was Richie,” Hirsch said, “not to find the individual who actually committed this crime.”

    No one else has been arrested in the case.

    The York County District Attorney’s Office was initially seeking the death penalty against Lawrence, but prosecutors later withdrew it.

    Lawrence is being held without bail in York County Prison. Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness is presiding over the trial, which is set to continue on Wednesday.

    https://ydr.com/story/news/crime/202...ty/4957654002/
    Last edited by Steven; 03-11-2020 at 02:32 PM.

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    Senior Member CnCP Addict Steven's Avatar
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    Justice 'a long time coming' for Mount Wolf murder victim, ADA says

    By Liz Evans Scolforo
    York Dispatch

    Ahshantianna Ali Johnson's grieving loved ones had to wait every bit of three years to see justice done for her, David Maisch said — but they witnessed it Friday morning.

    About 9:15 a.m., after deliberating for several hours Thursday afternoon, a York County jury found Edia "Richie" Lawrence guilty of second-degree murder and related offenses for the March 25, 2017, slaying of 19-year-old "Shanti" Johnson in the yard of her Mount Wolf home.

    "They were patient," the senior deputy prosecutor said. "It was a long time coming for this family and they finally got the closure that they wanted."

    Maisch said he was pleased too.

    "Whether it was first (degree murder) or second, it didn't really matter to me, since the penalty is the same," he said. "The family was happy with it, and that's what was important to me."

    Lawrence's family cried quietly as the verdict was read.

    "No," one woman uttered after leaving the courtroom. "No, no."

    Johnson's family members will have the chance to say their piece in open court at Lawrence's sentencing hearing, scheduled for April 27.

    Jurors acquitted Lawrence, 21, of the Bronx, of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit that offense. He was 18 at the time of the crime.

    Felony murder:In addition to second-degree murder — which is murder committed during the course of another felony — the jury convicted him of two counts of robbery, one for Johnson and the other for her mother; conspiracy to commit robbery; burglary; simple assault and making terroristic threats.

    In Pennsylvania, adults convicted of first- or second-degree murder receive automatic life sentences. Presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness could add consecutive time for the other offenses.

    New York City defense attorney Paul Hirsch said Lawrence and his family will decide whether to appeal.

    "There's time to have the discussion, and now is not really the time," he said.

    'Brutal' beating:Maisch described Johnson's attack as brutal. Testimony indicated she was beaten with a baseball bat.

    She suffered blunt-force trauma to her head, hands and arms, as well as multiple fractures, swelling, bruising and hemorrhaging to her face and brain that left her unconscious until her death five days after the attack.

    Trial testimony indicated Lawrence was fronting marijuana to dealers — a pound a week for one of them — and then having others collect his cut of the profits. Johnson was one of the women who collected that cash.

    She and Lawrence met at Northeastern High School when she was a junior and dated on and off for a couple years, Capo testified.

    They had broken up before Johnson's death but she was still making cash pickups for him, Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo has said.

    Prosecution witnesses testified that Lawrence believed Johnson kept the last pickup she made, which was about $3,000, instead of delivering it to him. One witness testified Lawrence said he intended to "smack the s—" out of Johnson for "playing" with his money.

    'A tragedy': "She was just trying to make her way through the world," Rizzo has said. "Unfortunately, she got hooked up with the wrong person ... and paid for it with her life. It's a tragedy to have such a young life full of promise get mixed up with the wrong crowd."

    Lawrence maintains his innocence.

    According to trial testimony, three masked men entered the Second Street home in Mount Wolf that Johnson shared with her mother, Noemi Capo, about 2:15 a.m. March 25, 2017, and started stealing both her property and Johnson's property, and also beat her dog with a baseball bat, she said.

    Capo told jurors she recognized the ringleader of the trio as Lawrence, and that he ordered her to call Johnson and convince her to come home, which she did. Shortly after making the call but before Johnson arrived, Capo was able to escape and ran for help.

    But when officers arrived, it was too late. They found Johnson unconscious and bloody in the backyard of her home.

    DNA on mask:Near her was a black face mask that contained Lawrence's DNA, according to the testimony of a DNA expert.

    His DNA also was found on duct tape left inside Capo's house by the home-invasion robbers, the expert said.

    Lawrence remains in York County Prison without bail, awaiting sentencing. His accomplices remain at large.

    Although he is from the Bronx, Lawrence moved to the Mount Wolf area as a teen to live with his aunt and attend high school.

    https://yorkdispatch.com/story/news/...an/5041043002/

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    Man convicted of Ashantianna Johnson's brutal murder outside Mount Wolf home will serve life in prison

    Edia Lawrence will also serve a consecutive 5-to-15-year prison term on a conspiracy conviction, York County DA David Sunday said

    By Keith Schweigert
    Fox 43 News

    MOUNT WOLF, Pa. A 21-year-old Bronx man convicted in March of murdering Ahshantianna Johnson outside her Mount Wolf home in July 2017 will serve a mandatory life sentence in prison, York County District Attorney David Sunday announced.

    In addition to a second-degree murder charge, Edia Lawrence was also found guilty of two counts of robbery, burglary, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, terroristic threats, and criminal conspiracy, Sunday said.

    Lawrence will serve a mandatory life sentence for the murder conviction, followed by a consecutive five- to 15-year sentence for criminal conspiracy to robbery, Sunday said.

    Johnson died five days after she was found brutally beaten outside a home along the 100 block of South 2nd Street on March 25, after Lawrence and two other men forced themselves into Johnson's mother's house and convinced her to call Johnson and tell her to come home.

    The apparent motive for the home invasion and brutal assault against Johnson was Lawrence's belief that Johnson, his on-again, off-again girlfriend, had stolen money from him.

    An alleged drug dealer, Lawerence was angry and told a witness that he would take care of it.

    After Johnson's beating, Lawrence told the same witness that he took care of it, police said at the time of his arrest.

    Sunday's office originally sought the death penalty against Lawrence, but said in a July 12, 2019 court filing that Lawrence provided information related to mitigating factors in the case and withdrew the petition to seek the death penalty.

    https://www.fox43.com/article/news/l...2-0859ad519a4c
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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