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Boy kills drunk father

May 27, 2007 |  6:24 am



1957_0527_johson_pix02 May 27, 1957

Drunk again, Harold L. Johnson, 43, lay passed out on a bed at 3069 Prospect Ave. in Maywood. His wife, Agnes,  38, helped herself to some money in his pocket.

When Johnson came to and began beating his wife, as he often did, she called police and ran to a nearby motorcycle shop where their 15-year-old son, Lester, worked.

"If he comes back, I'll have him arrested," Agnes said. "You won't have to," Lester replied. "I have a billy club and will take care of things myself."

Police warned Lester not to attack his father. But when Harold Johnson returned and resumed beating his wife, Lester retaliated.

"I decided to do it my way," he said, according to the Mirror. He warned his father not to beat his mother. Then, "I hit him as many times and as hard as I could," he said.

Police found Harold Johnson unconscious with 10 deep cuts in his head. He was taken to Maywood Hospital but refused to be transferred to General Hospital, so he was released. His last act was to go to the Maywood police station and demand that his son be freed.

The next day, the Maywood Fire Department received an emergency call and arrived at the Johnson house to find Lester trying in vain to revive his father. He was dead. Lester Johnson, a sophomore at Bell High School, was taken to the police station and charged with murder.

On June 10 1957, a coroner's jury found that the death was excusable homicide. According to Dr. Frederick Newbarr, Harold Johnson died of a hemorrhage due to the cuts on his head and alcoholism.

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