Las Vegas NV Feb 19 2017 A former Las Vegas hotel security guard was convicted of sexually assaulting a tourist but was acquitted of another allegation Friday.
Prosecutors alleged that Jerry Earl Johnson took advantage of two drunken women within a month’s span in 2009.
Johnson, now 48, lowered his head slightly as the guilty verdict was read. Facing 10 years to life in prison at an April sentencing, he was taken into custody without bail.
Johnson’s defense attorneys argued throughout the trial that he had been twice falsely accused.
The first allegation was made in February 2009, when a woman said she returned drunk to the Wyndham Grand Desert hotel, near Harmon Avenue and Koval Lane, and a security guard helped her up to her room. She told police the guard then raped her. The jury of five women and seven men deliberated about four hours before acquitting Johnson of that charge.
A month later, another woman reported similar allegations and said her assailant resembled LL Cool J, prosecutors said.
Both women were “so intoxicated they can’t stand up,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Sam Martinez told jurors.
Defense attorney Conor Slife dismissed the charges as “false accusations,” saying Johnson never even attempted to have sex with the first woman and that the second encounter was consensual.
“Just because these (allegations) were brought in the same case does not make them individually stronger,” Slife told jurors. “You can’t convict just in case you think it happened. … The state is ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit their charges.”
In the second incident, the woman testified that she had drifted in and out of consciousness while telling the man, “No,” after he escorted her to her room.
In the midst of the assault, the woman accidentally called her mother, who overheard her daughter struggle and a man’s voice.
Detectives recognized similarities in the two allegations, prosecutors said during the trial before before District Judge Kenneth Cory.
“How can two women who’ve never met have the same stories?” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth said.
To Johnson, the victims were “the path of least resistance,” the prosecutor continued. “They are drunk. They either won’t remember or won’t report, and if they do, who will believe them?”
Authorities later tied Johnson to both cases through DNA evidence found in the second encounter.
Johnson was originally charged with two counts of sexual assault in 2010, and the case lingered in the court system for more than seven years before going to trial.