St. Louis rapist sentenced to 12 consecutive life terms

2011-12-15T16:41:00Z 2015-01-23T19:08:50Z St. Louis rapist sentenced to 12 consecutive life termsBY JENNIFER MANN • jmann@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8315 stltoday.com

ST. LOUIS • One woman said she's afraid to go anywhere alone. Another said she won't sit in rooms with strangers. A third said the emotional damage ruined her marriage.

The three rape victims — strangers before their attacks and on Thursday united in court — each spoke with tears, urging St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Frawley to make sure their rapist never has the opportunity to act again.

"I think he should never spend a breathing moment outside a correctional institution," said one victim, a woman in her 40s who said she'd ask for the death penalty if the charges allowed it.

Frawley obliged with the state's request, sentencing Antonio L. Johnson to 12 consecutive life sentences plus 22 years in prison.

Johnson's lawyer had requested 30 years.

Johnson, 23, was linked to the three rapes by DNA evidence in spring 2010. He had been paroled from a Nebraska prison a year before.

The first was an attack of a woman in her 20s, near Oregon Avenue and Chippewa Street in July 2009. He knocked the woman out, broke her jaw, raped her and sodomized her. She woke up with her panties in her mouth.

The next month, Johnson offered to help a woman in her 40s who was stranded at a downtown bus stop near Cass Avenue and Maiden Lane. He persuaded her to walk to a more remote area, where he attacked and raped her at knifepoint.

Then in February 2010, he met a woman in her 40s at a bus stop near Benton Park, and attacked and raped her at knifepoint behind a park restroom. 

A jury convicted Johnson on Nov. 9 of 14 felonies, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, kidnapping and robbery.

Johnson, who testified during his trial that the sex was consensual, and that he couldn't remember the third attack, continued to argue his innocence at sentencing.

When the judge announced the prison terms the victims each reacted in the same way: their hands flew to their mouths and they started crying with relief.

One smiled at Johnson as she left the courtroom. "Merry Christmas," she said. 

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