Reading homicide victim's mom speaks about son's life, death


Rosalind Basnight sits next to a large photo of her son, 33-year-old Joseph Basnight, on a shaded porch in Reading, in a state of confusion.

"I just don't understand none of this," she said. "At this time, I don't understand none of this. I don't understand who would do this."

The large photo is an effort to replace the image of another, still etched inside her mind.

"I look at the photo again. It was my son, his eyes wide open, blood coming out of his mouth, like he's choking up the blood," Basnight said. "I said, 'Alright, I just wanna leave. I can't deal with it.'"

Police said Basnight's son was shot and killed in an apartment in the 100 block of South Third Street on Tuesday.

Rosalind said she spoke with her son hours before the shooting, and he asked to speak to his 5-year-old daughter.

"He sounded all happy, jolly. 'Oh, I'm up here, chilling. I'll talk to you later.' I said, 'OK, fine,'" she recalled.

Berks County District Attorney John Adams said Basnight was on parole for drug charges stemming from 2013. Basnight's mother and other family members said he served his time and had turned his life around.

"What somebody do in the past is in the past. That was in 2013," Basnight said. "He did his time. He came home. He got a job. He got his own place."

She said she believes the person who killed her son knew him and had been let into the apartment.

"It had to be somebody he knew to open his door for them, yes," Basnight said. "I feel that way and I'm not gonna change my mind."

If you have any information about the homicide, you are asked to contact Crime Alert Berks County.

Now, as Basnight awaits answers, she answers her granddaughter.

"And then she came and talked to me, she said, 'Oh Grammy, he's up in heaven,'" Basnight recalled. "I said, 'Yes, yes, up in heaven,' I said, 'Anytime you need to talk to him, just look up and talk to him.'"