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Appeals court upholds Columbia rapist’s conviction

A Missouri appeals court upheld a Columbia man’s rape conviction.

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District filed its opinion in the Joanthony Johnson case Tuesday.

In July 2017, a jury convicted Johnson of two counts of first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree rape and one count of attempted first-degree sexual abuse and sentenced him to 100 years in prison.

Prosecutor Dan Knight said Johnson gave at least four women drugs before having sex with them while they were incapacitated. Johnson recorded some of the sexual acts on his phone, which police obtained after getting him to unlock his phone. Johnson and his defense attorney said the sex was consensual.

In Tuesday’s opinion, the judge ruled the circuit court was not wrong in admitting evidence from Johnson’s cellphone because the search of the phone was not invalid under the Fourth Amendment and the compulsion of Johnson’s pass code did not violate his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

The court also said Judge Harris was correct in denying Johnson’s motion to separate the different instances into different cases, and that there was sufficient evidence supporting Johnson’s conviction for attempted first degree sexual abuse.

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