Johnson Heads to Trial in Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault Case

By Benjamin Cox on May 11, 2021 at 4:48pm

A man accused of predatory criminal sexual assault in September 2018 is heading to a trial next month. 36 year old Larry D. Johnson was in Morgan County Court on a status hearing for two motions in his case.

Johnson is facing four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. According to charging documents, Johnson is accused of performing and receiving oral sex with a male and female, both under the age of 13 in September 2018. Johnson was arrested by Jacksonville Police in June 2019 at his residence in the 500 block of Stratford Lane.

The case has faced a number of unusual motions. The first came in February 2020 when public defender Tom Piper asked for a motion to withdraw as Johnson’s counsel due to a “per se” conflict. Morgan County Circuit Judge Chris Reif denied that motion in June 2020.

Piper had earlier asserted that Johnson was unfit to stand trial after a mental health examination in January 2020, which the court stipulated in February 2020 that he was unfit to stand trial. In July 2020, the court then found Johnson fit for trial and called a pre-trial conference for September 2020.

In November, Johnson’s defense filed a motion to suppress evidence of video in which Johnson was questioned by Jacksonville Police detectives about incidents relating to the case. The video was then presented to the court this February and the court denied the motion to suppress.

In March, Piper filed a motion for further mental health examination of his client saying that Johnson was unaware of his Miranda rights during the questioning with detectives.

Judge Reif further denied both of those motions in court this afternoon. Johnson then told the court he did not wish to plead guilty nor did he wish to go to trial in the case. Reif replied that Johnson would have a choice at his next hearing on June 1st whether he would like to have a jury or a bench trial. Reif placed the case on the June jury call and continued the case.

If convicted on predatory sexual assault charges involving two different juveniles, Johnson faces a mandatory life sentence.