Judge makes ruling in sexual assault case
COLUMBIA - Joanthony Johnson, 27, was back in court Thursday for the second day in a row for his sentencing hearing. Boone County Judge Jeff Harris ruled Johnson would serve a minimum of 85 years in prison with a maximum of 100 years. Johnson also has to register as a sex offender.
The state recommended life plus 154 years in prison, while the defense recommended 20 years in prison. Johnson was found guilty by a jury in April on two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy and one count of first-degree attempted sexual abuse. He was found guilty of raping three different women and attempting to rape a fourth.
Johnson admitted to having sex with three of the women but claimed it was consensual.
During the two-day hearing, all four victims testified. Three victims read statements at the sentencing hearing on Thursday. One victim, while holding back tears, said, “Before this crime, I was a strong, independent woman, but after this crime I lost all of that.”
Another victim said, “I knew I was right, but I wanted to be wrong. I didn’t want any of this to be true.”
Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight called Johnson a "serial rapist,” saying he drugged and raped the women at his Columbia apartment.
In Knight’s closing arguments, he said Johnson did not use a condom when he raped these women, which “shows he only cares about himself.” He later added, “All of the victims deserve justice.” Knight said Johnson deserves a very long sentence.
Johnson’s mother, Norma Chapman, under oath said she was not aware of her son selling drugs or video taping women. There's no official word whether or not Johnson will file an appeal, but on Wednesday Chapman said her son will appeal.
After Harris made the sentencing, he asked Johnson if he felt he was effectively represented and Johnson said, "No." Johnson mentioned multiple reasons for this. He said his attorney did not call enough witnesses to testify on his side. He also said his attorney did not do a good job of protecting his innocence. Another thing he mentioned was the lack of communication between him and his attorney, Sarah Aplin, while she was on maternity leave.
In the defense attorney’s closing arguments, Aplin said Knight might have led some women into believing they were assaulted by Johnson in the videos even though they didn’t remember any of it.
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