Gadsen County, FL -- May 3, 2012 --
Kevin Johnson plead guilty to carjacking and beating Eunice "Sunny" Lester before she later died. Thursday the victim's family got a chance to say their peace.
"My grandmother Sunny Lester was a loving, fun-spirited, kind-hearted and giving woman," said granddaughter April Lester.
In December, 2010, Kevin Johnson carjacked the 92 year old, beat her up and left her for dead in her own driveway. Johnson looked on as Lester's family held back tears
"So many times over this past year and a half, I wished that I could go back in time, tell her not to roll down the window and not to go down the driveway," said Sunny's daughter, Hazel Lester.
There were sentiments of forgiveness...
"As hard as it is by me, you are forgiven by me, but that doesn't solve your problems," said son Dickson.
There were also feelings of anger.
"Due to the brutality that was done to her, for that reason alone, I will never forgive him and God help me, I pray that he will suffer every day he spends in jail," said son Ray in his statement to the court.
Through it all, there was a message for Johnson's family.
"His whole family is hurting, and we reach out to them and hope that they know we are here with you we understand what you're going through."
Gadsden County, FL -- May 3, 2012 -- Noon -
Family and friends of an elderly woman who died after a brutal attack got to share their feelings this morning Kevin Johnson was sentenced for the crime earlier this week, but a judge allowed those who knew and loved Eunice Sunny Lester to address the court.
It was a very emotional morning in the Gadsden County Courthouse Annex. The family of the victim, Eunice "Sunny" Lester, shared fond memories of the loved one that was taken from them.
Sunny Lester's two sons, daughter, and grandchildren addressed the court both in person and in letters written to the court. Kevin Johnson looked on with a mostly stoic look on his face. Some of the family members talked of Sunny's charitable work and warm spirit. Others went back to December 17th, 2010, the day she was carjacked and beaten by Johnson. Many of the family members did say that they forgave Johnson, but would not forget the pain he brought them.
Johnson pleaded guilty and will now serve two concurrent life sentences as well as a 30 year sentence for another charge.
Kevin Johnson: Pleads Guilty to Beating 92-Year Old Woman to Death
Gadsden County, FL -- April 30, 2012 --
The man accused of brutally beating an elderly woman who later died has pleaded guilty to the crime.
Kevin Johnson pleaded guilty to first degree murder and other charges today 4/30 in the death of 92-year-old Eunice Sunny Lester.
Lester was beaten and left for dead in her Gadsden County driveway in 2010.
Deputies say Johnson car-jacked her and beat her up.
Lester was in a coma for weeks and later died.
Johnson pleaded guilty during day one of jury selection in the trial.
He's been sentenced to two life sentences and 30 years on a separate charge.
State Seeks Death Against Man Arrested For Beating 92-year-old Woman
[UPDATE] 9-20 3PM
The State Attorney's Office confirms that it intends to seek the death penalty against Kevin Marquis Johnson.
Stay with WCTV for updates on this story.
[UPDATE] 9-10 5:30 PM
The man accused of brutally beating an elderly Quincy woman is now facing murder charges.
Deputies say last December, Kevin Marquis Johnson stole 92-year-old Sunny Lester's car, beat her and left her in her driveway to die. She died months later in the hospital.
Now the State Attorney's office has upgraded Johnson's charges to first degree murder.
Kristie Lindzy was a friend of Ms. Sunny. She said, "It definitely helps a little bit and closure doesn't bring Ms. Sunny back, she was a beautiful lady, but him getting what he deserves, helps."
At first, Kevin Marquis-Johnson was charged with battery on a person over the age of 65. Those charges were later upgraded to attempted murder and now to murder.
Everyone we spoke to in Quincy said he should be charged with first degree murder.
Lindsay Eggles agrees with the charges. She said, "I don't think they should live. Really, Basically, in my point of view."
Sunny was a World War II nurse, and was very active in the community. Those who knew her say she is missed.
UPDATE] 9-19 Noon -
The man arrested for the brutal beating of an elderly Gadsden County woman is now facing stiffer charges.
The State Attorneys Office is now charging Kevin Marquis-Johnson with first degree murder; that's upgraded from the original charge of attempted murder. Deputies say last December, Johnson stole 92 year old Sunny Lester's car, beat her and left her in her driveway to die. She died days later in the hospital.
Funeral services were held this morning (2-11) for a beloved Gadsden County woman who was carjacked and beaten the week before Christmas.
Sunny Lester clung to life for weeks before succumbing to her injuries. Eyewitness News Reporter La'Tasha Givens has the story.
Hundreds gathered outside the First Presbyterian Church in Quincy on Friday (2-11) to pay their last respects to 92-year old Eunice "Sunny" Lester.
"We're rejoicing today, it's not a funeral, it's a celebration."
Investigators say Lester was brutally attacked in December (2010) by Kevin Johnson, 27. during a carjacking. Investigators say the attack left her with facial fractures and bleeding on her brain.
Lester woke up from a coma and made medical progress, but died just over a month after the attack.
Dickson Lester, Sunny's son, says, "It's not about the evil that took Ms. Sunny down. We're not focused on the evil that took her down."
Lester's family members say they are focused on the impact she had when she lived.
Sunny's granddaughter says, "She knew that you loved everybody and I think like dad says this shows her life in action is here today."
Lester was a nurse during World War II, so veterans stood proud with waving flags during the service, for one reason only.
Rosalie Myers of the Patriot Guard says, "To honor other service people who have given their life for the country."
Lester was a mother of four, grandmother of eight and great grandmother to 13. She served with many community organizations.
"And we would ask that everybody go out and hug somebody because that's what Sunny would do. Hug somebody and bring brightness to their lives."
[UPDATE] 2-11 Noon --
A 92-year-old Gadsden County woman who police say was beaten up by a carjacker is laid to rest this morning at the First Presbyterian Church in Quincy.
Sunny Lester had been in the hospital since December, after investigators say 27 year old Kevin Johnson brutally beat her during a car jacking.
Deputies say she had several facial fractures and bleeding on her brain. She was then placed in a medically induced coma.
Lester hung on to life and actually woke up and was able to talk and even sing. But her condition eventually worsened and died on February 4.
UPDATE 2-4 7:07 pm
A 92 year old Gadsden County woman who police say was beaten up by a carjacker has died. Eyewitness News reporter La'Tasha Givens has more on Sunny Lester and the family she leaves behind.
"She'd shown true love for everybody."
Loved ones and friends are all saying the same thing.
Ollie Mae Turner, a friend, says, "She loved everybody and she was good to everybody."
Feeling the same way, Ethel Cook, another friend, says, "I just went to crying.......(cries)."
Beloved 92-year old Eunice "Sunny" Lester died Friday 2/4.
Dickson Lester, Sunny's son, says, "At 4:40 this morning I felt the love that she had put out into the world coming back to her. That love was beyond all comprehension."
Lester had been in the hospital since December, after investigators say Kevin Johnson, 27, brutally beat her during a car jacking. Investigators say Lester was left in the rain in a muddy puddle for hours. Deputies say the attack was so severe, Lester had several facial fractures and bleeding on her brain. She was then placed in a medically induced coma.
Lester hung on to life and to the surprise of many, actually woke up and was able to talk and even sing. But Friday, her condition worsened and she took her last breath.
"We would cry together, laugh together and we would pray together."
"She meant the world to me really...."
Lester was a mother of 4, grandmother of 8 and great grandmother to 13. She was a World War II nurse and served with many community organizations.
Lester says, "This man doesn't realize what he took away from the earth. He doesn't realize the number of lives...that he has hurt and changed forever."
Kevin Johnson remains behind bars charged with attempted murder. Because Sunny Lester has died, those charges may be upgraded to murder.
[UPDATE] 2-4 Noon --
The 92 year old Gadsden County woman police say was beaten up and left for dead passed away this morning (2-4).
Sunny Lester, who was brutally beaten by a car jacker in December 2010 suffered from bleeding on the brain, and was even in coma at one point.
Doctors thought after a Christmas miracle that she was recovering slowly but surely, but she died this morning.
Eyewitness News has learned that Eunice "Sunny" Lester has died.
Stay with us for details.
Pictures are attached above.
WCTV has learned that Eunice "Sunny" Lester continues to try to recover from the injuries she sustained when she was beaten in a car-jacking in December 2010.
Dickson Lester, Sunny's son, sent the newsroom a letter giving an update on his mother's condition:
"Mother's health was deteriorating over Jan 2nd.
After meeting with Dr's Mon & Tues, then much prayer and Additional tests we decided with Dr recommendations to move her to a MORE AGGRESSIVE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT CALLED SELECT HOSPITAL, near the other one.
At 2 pm I got her moved in with the paramedics from other hospital and settled.
Dr Bailey examined her and got her to swallow a sip of water. So we have already seen progress.
Judie, Bill, Hazel, & Carrie Have come to be with her now around 3:30pm and I have moved out into the hall waiting room to get some rest I am tuckered out. Been here every day around 8 to 9 and staying until after midnight
God has BLESSED US TREMENDOUSLY ONCE AGAIN TODAY. I SEE NOTHING BUT BLUE SKIES AHEAD. " - Dickson Lester
WCTV will continue to follow this story and bring you more information as it becomes available.
Eunice "Sunny" Lester continues to recover after being beaten and robbed on December 17, 2010.
The 92-year old was in a coma for awhile but came out of that last week. Her son, Dickson Lester has been keeping WCTV up to date on the condition of his mother and here is the latest information he relayed to the station:
"Mother now has fluid on the lungs and will need a feeding tube because her throat is so sore she can't swallow. She also has torn ligaments in her right knee. This lovely woman is very tough and the Dr.'s are amazed at how tough she is. She is fighting hard to get her strength back and it will be a slow process but all things are possible with God."
We will continue to bring you any news of her recovery as it becomes available.
Charges have been upgraded for a man accused of beating a 92 year old woman.
Assistant state attorney Frank Allman says Kevin Johnson, 27, will now face a felony attempted murder charge.
Gadsden County investigators say Johnson car-jacked Eunice Lester, beat her up and left her for dead in her driveway last Friday (12/17).
Lester was in a coma for five days before she woke up yesterday (12/22).
Johnson was already charged with aggravated assault, carjacking and grand theft auto.
New at 6:00 tonight, we'll hear from one of the soldiers who prayed by her bedside as she made a miraculous recovery
Around 3 Wednesday afternoon, the family of Eunice Lester says a miracle happened, and it came in the form of just a couple of words. But for them, that was more than enough.
"I asked her a question. 'Momma would you like me to turn the music off?' and she said no. Later in the conversation I asked her, 'Who do you love better, me or my brother Ray? She said everybody," said her son Dickson Lester.
"Sunny", as Lester's loved ones call her, was admitted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital on Friday after 27-year-old Kevin Johnson allegedly car jacked her and beat her up.
Friends and family have been by her side ever since and say on Wednesday they got what they had been praying for.
"She has started showing signs of recovery and this morning she opened both eyes, and later during the day the doctors were so encouraged that they decided to take the breathing tube out," said Dickson Lester.
Dickson says he's thankful for the support from the community and especially thankful to a group of soldiers who visited the World War II nurse and presented her with a flag and prayed for her.
"Lieutenant Leggamann carried this flag in his back pack in Afghanistan a year or so ago and he brought this flag because he wanted to honor a World War II veteran," said Lester.
As for Kevin Johnson, Dickson says he has prayed for him and wants to forgive him because he says that's exactly what his mother would want him to do.
Kevin Johnson is being held at the Gadsden County Jail and charged with car jacking, aggravated assault on a person over 65, and grand theft auto.
The 92-year-old Gadsden County woman who was beaten up and left for dead in her driveway is out of her medically induced coma and is alert and talking.
Eunice Lester, also known as "Sunny" remains in ICU at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Investigators say 27-year-old Kevin Johnson car-jacked her and beat her up Friday
Earlier today, Lester's son Dickson told WCTV... his mother is out of the coma and is talking. The family is calling it a miracle. They say the first thing she said was she didn't want the radio on.
Lester was a World War II nurse and her husband was a soldier. We are told soldiers prayed with her and presented her with a flag. And hours later doctors took out her breathing tubes and she began breathing on her own, but Lester's son say doctors tell him she still has a long way to recovery
"I'm praying for her everyday."
Ethel Brock is hoping one of her best friends wakes up from a coma she's been in since Friday 12/17. Deputies say Eunice Lester who many know as Sunny, was brutally attacked by a car-jacker who investigators say left her in a puddle of mud outside her home with broken ribs and facial bones and blood on her brain.
The pair have been friends for 35 years. Brock showed WCTV pictures of the happier times.
Several times a week Lester visited the Magnolia House where Brock lives.
"She's the only friend I have that comes everyday to see me. I have other friends but she was the one that comes to see me everyday," says Brock.
While there, administrators say she volunteered and helped them plan several events.
Tatayana Smith, Magnolia House Coordinator says, "She helps with our mailing correspondence and she helps our marketing director send out the newsletter. There is an inside joke here that she's the marketing director's boss lady because she basically tells her what to do."
Lester's accused attacker is 27 year old Kevin Johnson, who is behind bars charged with assault, grand theft auto and car-jacking..
"I feel it was wrong really and I hope they keep him locked up forever," says Brock.
Tallahassee Memorial doctors say they believe they can get the blood and swelling down in Sunny Lester's brain and are hoping a for a full recovery.
A 92-year-old Gadsden County woman is in coma after a carjacker severely beat her and left her for dead.
Tallahassee Memorial officials say Sunny Lester suffered facial fractures and bleeding on her brain as a result of the attack.
Deputies say 27-year-old Kevin Johnson approached Lester when she pulled into the driveway of her home on Attalpulgus Highway.
Deputies say Johnson beat the elderly woman, took her car and left her in a puddle of mud, fighting for her life.
Deputies caught up with Johnson when he wrecked the vehicle on Attalpulgus Highway near the Georgia state line and say they found the woman's checkbook and driver's license in Johnson's pockets and arrested him.
Johnson is arrested and charged with grand theft auto, carjacking and aggravated battery of a person over 65.