Judge declares mistrial in rape case

The jury has deadlocked in the case of David A. Johnson, a city man accused of raping an unconscious victim. President Judge Nancy L. Butts declared a mistrial Tuesday afternoon.

“Thank you, Jesus!” Johnson’s mother yelled as she left the courthouse following Butts’ announcement.

One juror hung the case, the 11 others told Butts after the trial ended. That juror, whose gender the judge requested be unspecified, believed the victim was at fault for the rape.

“(They) kept saying she deserved it because she was drunk,” one juror said.

Johnson is accused of raping the victim after she drank two 40-ounce beers at a party that Johnson did not attend, according to testimony. She awoke in Johnson’s attic with no recollection of how she got there, according to the victim’s testimony.

“Two beers? Something else was in that drink,” said one juror.

A rape kit found Johnson’s DNA inside the victim, according to Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kalaus. The crime lab would not test the victim’s urine for the date rape drug rohypnol, Kalaus said.

“(The hung juror) said no one was hurt and that it would be different if the victim were found in the river with her throat slit,” one juror said.

The lone juror for acquital never should have made it through jury selection because of their prejudice concerning rape of an unconscious victim, according to the other jurors. To that juror, rape meant being grabbed in the dark by someone hiding in the bushes, they said.

“This had nothing to do with the evidence,” another juror said.

“(The juror) had a fixed opinion about the nature of the charge,” Butts said.

The hung juror also believed that Johnson, a dwarf, was fingered for the crime due to his physical disability.

“(The juror) said, ‘If (Johnson) wasn’t a midget, this case wouldn’t have gone to trial,’ ” according to one juror.

Johnson was convicted of robbery and served time in state prison 17 years ago, according to Butts. The jury was not allowed to hear that information due to its prejudicial nature, Butts ruled.

The commonwealth will re-try the case, according to Kalaus.