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Police: Ex killed Mount Wolf woman over drug money
One of three armed, masked men who fatally attacked Ahshantianna Johnson at her Mount Wolf home was her ex-boyfriend, who believed she'd stolen his drug money and vowed to "take care of it," according to allegations in charging documents.
Edia Antonio Lawrence, 18, of 205 Torrey Ave. in the Bronx, New York, is now in York County Prison without bail, charged with homicide, burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, attempted simple assault by menacing, making terroristic threats and several counts of robbery.
Police said he is known by the name "Richie" and that for a time he lived on Matthews Drive in Conewago Township with his aunt and attended Northeastern High School.
Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo said investigators are still searching for Lawrence's accomplices in the March 25 beating death of Johnson, 19, at her South Second Street home.
Home invasion: About 2:15 a.m. March 25, three men wearing masks barged into the home Johnson shared with her mother, Noemi Capo, and started stealing property, including a 42-inch television, a 36-inch TV, a PlayStation console and equipment, sneakers, clothing, a book bag and $22 cash, 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, police allege
While threatening Capo, Lawrence spoke about killing her sons, charging documents allege.
'Beady' eyes: She 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 backyard, 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 she had stolen "a lot" of money from him and that "he would take care of it," according to charging documents. Later, after Johnson was attacked, Lawrence told the same witness he "took care of" the problem, police allege.
Rizzo said investigators are still trying to determine whether Johnson was stealing some of Lawrence's drug proceeds.
"There's a good possibility she did," he said, but confirmed it's also possible people dealing drugs for Lawrence simply told him that.
Johnson and Lawrence had broken up a few months before she was killed, but she apparently was still working for him, 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."
Persons of interest: The chief said some "persons of interest" have been identified and interviewed, but at this point none of them has been identified as an accomplice.
Police analyzed Johnson's cellphone and found evidence of numerous phone calls between Johnson and Lawrence as well as photos of them together, documents state.
Rizzo also confirmed reports that Lawrence struck Capo's dog with the metal baseball bat.
Lawrence was arrested in New York City on a warrant filed by Northern York County Regional Police for allegedly trying to shoot a man when a drug deal went bad, police said.
He was extradited back to York County and committed to county prison early Thursday morning, officials said. Lawrence was arraigned on his two cases at the county's central booking unit, records state.
District Judge David Eshbach denied Lawrence bail in both cases, citing a need to protect the community.
Northeastern Regional Police are asking for the public's help in identifying and arresting the other two masked men who attacked and killed Johnson.
Anyone with any information, no matter how minor, is asked to call police at 717-266-6195, ext. 105. Tipsters can remain anonymous, police said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.