Rape suspect held on $1 million bond

By Tania E. Lopez
August 11, 2004

The man arrested after a chase that ended in a Morgan County cornfield
was held Tuesday on $1 million bond on charges stemming from the rape and
attempted murder of an Illinois girl.

Ronnie L. Johnson, 53, Kansas, Ill., was being held in the Edgar County
Jail in Paris, Ill., about 20 miles northwest of Terre Haute, after his
capture Monday.

Johnson is charged in Illinois with aggravated criminal sexual assault,
aggravated kidnapping and attempted murder.

According to Edgar County State’s Attorney Matt Sullivan, Johnson is
suspected in an attack Sunday on a 13-year-old Paris girl.

Johnson, a registered sex offender, was convicted in 1988 of criminal
sexual assault, Sullivan said. Johnson was sentenced to four years of
probation, but it was revoked in 1992 after he was convicted again of
aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Sullivan said the girl apparently was picked at random and did not know
her assailant. Details on who reported her missing and how long she was
kidnapped are under investigation, Sullivan’s office said.

Johnson allegedly kidnapped the girl Sunday from a sidewalk in her
hometown. Initial reports said she was abducted from her home.

The girl was raped, stabbed three times in her torso and left for dead. A
passing motorist saw the injured victim walking along an Edgar County
road and took her to a hospital. She was listed Tuesday in serious but
stable condition, Sullivan said.

Johnson became a suspect based on the girl’s description of her attacker.
She had been found near Johnson’s home in rural Edgar County.

The manhunt for Johnson, a truck driver, shifted to Indiana after police
found his rig at a truck stop along I-70 near the Ind. 39 exit near the
Hendricks-Morgan county line. Officers fanned out into the area and
captured him about 5:30 p.m. Monday when he walked out of a wooded area.

After his arrest, Johnson waived extradition proceedings and was turned
over to Illinois State Police.

Johnson faces no charges in Indiana. If convicted on the Illinois
charges, he could be sentenced from six to 30 years in prison on each
count, Sullivan said.

Johnson faces an arraignment today in Edgar County.

Copyright 2004 The Indianapolis Star

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