Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Man accused of kidnapping, rape on trial
Alleged victim, now 84, present for 1st-day testimonies

By Schuyler Kropf (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The rape trial of a man accused of brutalizing an 82-year-old woman inside her James Island home began Monday with a detective reading the suspect's post-arrest statements to the jury.

Brandon Vernard Johnson, now 24, was arrested at the scene on June 9, 2006, after a neighbor reported seeing him on top of the victim inside her Harbor View Road residence.

Charleston County sheriff's Detective Matthew Lariccia testified that after the arrest, Johnson asked to speak to authorities. His comments included the admissions "I need help" and "I wish there was something I could do to undo what I did," Lariccia read.

Though he admittedly was drunk that day, Johnson also reported that he thought he'd had sex, the statement said.

Johnson of Summerville is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. He is accused of keeping the great-grandmother captive while repeatedly raping her for nearly nine hours. He allegedly locked her inside the home after escorting her back from a grocery store.

The woman, now 84 and reportedly suffering from dementia, was in the courtroom Monday for the start of the trial.

In her opening statement, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Elizabeth Gordon said the concerns of the woman's neighbors, who heard noises from her apartment that night, led to Johnson being caught.

"Thank goodness for nosy neighbors," Gordon told the jury.

Gordon added that the rape shattered the woman's life and erased all the freedoms she'd enjoyed while living on Harbor View Road for 30 years.

"Her home and her independence were taken away that day," Gordon said, adding that "after that night, she has never been able to return to that house."

Defense lawyer Beattie Butler told the jury that things are not always what they seem in a criminal case and noted that Johnson couldn't fully remember everything that happened.

The attack is alleged to have begun about 8 p.m. on a Friday and lasted until early in the morning on a Saturday when deputies were called, authorities said.

Johnson was free on bail on drug trafficking and gun charges in Summerville at the time of the incident.

The trial is expected to last several days.


sunshine said...

I am a witness and this is such a disgrace. How can this be a mistrial? I mean come on this is an eighty-two year old woman at the time and a twenty-two year old. How does anybody in their right state of mind get away or get a mistrial for this? I feel for the family so much. How hard it must be to see him and hear the heartbreaking story over and over. How about the jurors? What has our world come to. The legal system is just horrible and no one seems to care about this case talking about how the juror didnt want to be apart of Brandon's future. He deserves every bit of pain just like what the family is going through. It just really breaks my heart to see this being a mistrial and to see the family suffer longer. I hope he gets the best out of prison!

Brenda said...

Strangely this happens everyday but the world is round and maybe he will gel his own one day.