Rapist now seeks legal help

Published 11:17 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A man who represented himself when he stood trial for the rape and sodomy of a 15-year-old now wants a lawyer to argue several motions he filed for a new trial.
Mitchell Bernard Johnson of Troy was found guilty of rape in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree last December. The incident happened in the Spring Hill Community on Oct. 14, 2010.
Circuit Judge Jeff Kelley sentenced Johnson to life without the possibility of parole for each conviction on March 25.
Assistant District Attorney Jeff Moore said Kelley has 60 days from the date of sentencing to rule on Johnson’s motions.
“On the 60th day, if he doesn’t do anything, they are all denied,” Moore explained.
It took more than six weeks for Johnson’s motions to reach the top of Kelley’s docket. Before the judge could rule on them Wednesday, Johnson requested a lawyer and a continuance. January Ellis, who had been appointed as Johnson’s advisory council during the trial, was reappointed as his council Wednesday.
Kelley said he could not guarantee there would be a new date available to hear Johnson’s case before the 60-day deadline.
Moore said he was prepared to argue for Kelley to deny Johnson’s motions.
“In the event that this thing does get set in this time frame, we’re going to continue fighting for our victim and make sure Johnson continues to serve life without parole,” said Moore.

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