Victims of March 20 attack testify in rape trial



The man who attacked a couple in bed, brutally beating the man and raping the woman, was masked to hide his identity, but DNA proved the attacker was Johnnie Lee Baker, the prosecutor said Monday in his opening statement to the jury.

Baker, 38, has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, aggravated sodomy, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, kidnapping and burglary. His Richmond County Superior Court trial continues today.

Sheriff investigators targeted Baker as a possible suspect of the March 20 attack because the woman told them she thought the black leather coat the rapist wore looked like the one worn by a man she had seen in the Deans Bridge Road trailer park where she had recently moved, said Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter. Officers obtained Baker’s DNA sample and the crime lab matched it to DNA found during the rape kit exam on the victim.

Defense attorney Peter Johnson told the jury in his opening statement that the DNA belongs to a different man, not his client. No other evidence was found implicating his client, Johnson said.

Gerald Green testified Monday that he was asleep in his girlfriend’s bed when an attacker started hitting him with a weapon he compared with a broom stick cut to a length of 2 to 3 feet. The masked man, who was dressed completely in black from his boots to the cap on his head, grabbed him by the throat and yanked him out of the bed, Green said.

Both of Green’s hands were broken as he tried to protect his head. The bones in his right hand were shattered and required three surgeries. The blows caused what the doctor thought was likely a concussion and bruises on his neck and back.

Forced out of the house, Green ran for help. Inside the trailer, the attacker grabbed the woman by the hair and dragged her into the living room.

When she tried to disable the attacker by twisting his testicles, he punched her in the eye, she told the jury. The box cutter he was holding cut her above her left eye, she testified. As he sexually assaulted her, he was growling and biting her. A picture taken of the woman later at the hospital shows a set of bruises circling and cutting into her right ear.

Baker has previous convictions for aggravated assault, peeping Tom, and sexual battery. He finished his last prison term less than a year before the March attack.