YORK, Pa. — Prosecutors say they plan to seek the death penalty against a New York man charged in the beating death of his ex-girlfriend and the related robbery of her mother’s Pennsylvania home earlier this year.

Authorities in York County allege that 18-year-old Edia Lawrence killed Ahshantianna (ah-shan-tee-AHN’-ah) Johnson early on March 25 outside her Mount Wolf home because he believed she had stolen money he earned dealing drugs.

Prosecutors say the fact that Johnson was killed during the robbery and that they allege the crime was drug-related would justify capital punishment if Lawrence is convicted of first-degree murder.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon said he was surprised by the decision because of his client’s age, and he plans to challenge a voice identification of his client as one of three masked intruders.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.