A shoeless 9-year-old boy clad in pajamas ran into his school Wednesday crying and screaming "hysterically" as he sought refuge from a stepmother who allegedly attacked him with a baseball bat, according to charges filed Friday.
"My mom is trying to kill me," the boy said as he fled into Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School in St. Paul. "Don't let me go back to her."
The boy's stepmother, Tashay C. Johnson, 24, allegedly chased him in the school.
"I'm going to kill you," the charges allege Johnson said.
Johnson, of St. Paul, is charged in Ramsey County District Court with terroristic threats and malicious punishment of a child. The charges allege that her stepson, who turned 9 five days before the incident, had swelling on the left side of his head near the temple and ear, several marks on his left arm consistent with a belt, a scratch near his left eye and several scratches on the right side of his neck.
According to the complaint: Police arrived at the school about 3:50 p.m. on a child abuse report. The principal said the boy had run into the school. The principal intervened when Johnson chased and threatened the boy, and refused to let Johnson follow the boy as he fled down a staircase.
"I don't need the police," Johnson allegedly told the principal. "I'm going to lose my kid."
The boy told police that he had been escorted home that day by a teacher, who then spoke with Johnson about the boy's behavioral problems in school earlier in the day. The boy told police that once the teacher left their home, Johnson said he was going to get a "whooping." She allegedly hit him in the head with a baseball bat, struck him in the face twice with her fist and lashed at him with a belt several times.
"Johnson was still very upset with [the boy] after she'd struck him several times and said to him, 'I'm going to kill you,' " the complaint said. "[The boy] said Johnson said, 'I'm going to grab the gun and kill you,' referring to firearms that a relative hides in the garage."
That's when the boy fled to his school.
When police confronted Johnson at the family's home, located about a block from the school, she denied hitting the boy.
"I don't know," she allegedly said when asked about the origins of his injuries. "I never hit him."
When asked by police, Johnson led them to the baseball bat's hiding place, which the boy had described. She was then arrested.
"[The boy's] father jumped up and said, 'This is [expletive] [expletive] and I'm going to beat that kid's [expletive] next time I see him,' " the charges said. " 'I whoop that kid, but it doesn't do any good.' "
Johnson agreed to speak with police, the complaint said, and told them that the boy is developmentally delayed. She said that after the teacher left, she phoned the boy's father, who instructed her to make the boy squat in a corner as punishment.
"Johnson said she was trying to get him to squat in the corner, but he kept running around the house," the complaint said.
Johnson allegedly told police she told the boy she was going to call his father, prompting the boy to flee to his school.
Johnson denied hitting the boy and threatening to kill him.