St. Paul boy, shoeless and in PJs, flees abusive stepmom and runs to school

A 9-year-old boy, shoeless and in his pajamas, ran into his St. Paul school on Wednesday crying and screaming "hysterically," he was allegedly escaping from his stepmother who attacked him with a baseball bat.

"My mom is trying to kill me," the boy said as he fled into the school. "Don't let me go back to her."

According to charges filed Friday, the 9-year-old suffered 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.

Tashay C. Johnson, 24, allegedly chased after him into Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School in St. Paul, while telling the boy, "I'm going to kill you."

The school called police around 4 p.m. – which is when the principal intervened and refused to allow Johnson to chase after her stepson, as he fled down a school staircase.

Johnson said to the principal, "I don't need the police, I'm going to lose my kid."

The boy told police he had been escorted home earlier that day by a teacher who spoke with Johnson about the boy's behavioral problems. Once the teacher left their home, the boy said Johnson told him he was going to get a "whooping."

Allegedly, Johnson hit him in the head with a baseball bat, struck him in the face twice with her fist, and beat at him with a belt several times.

The boy said Johnson told him, "I'm going to grab the gun and kill you," while referring to firearms that a relative hides in the garage. This is when he ran to his school to escape.

Prosecutors said Johnson denies hitting her stepson, but investigators say the boy had large welts, marks, and scratches all over. When asked how he got the belt marks, Johnson said, "I don't know, I never hit him."

When police arrested Johnson, the boy's father threatened to beat the boy too -- "I whoop that kid but it doesn't do any good," he said.

The boy is now in protective custody, while Johnson is charged with malicious punishment of a child and making terroristic threats. She was released from jail under the conditions that she has no contact with her stepson.