Conviction of ‘Eastside Rapist’ upheld by appellate court

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — An appellate court has upheld the conviction of “Eastside Rapist” Billy Ray Johnson, who terrorized the city by breaking into homes while masked and assaulting women in the summer of 2013.

Johnson, 39, will continue to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, but the 5th District Court of Appeal said he will be remanded to Kern County for the trial judge to decide whether to strike firearm enhancements imposed in the case.

In his appeal, Johnson argued he was not provided with discovery regarding the analysis of DNA used to support his conviction, and that he was improperly prevented from presenting certain expert testimony related to the DNA testing, court documents say.

The appellate court, however, found “overwhelming evidence” of Johnson’s guilt was presented at trial even without the contested DNA results. It affirmed each of the 24 counts of which he was convicted.

Johnson raped three women, attempted to rape another and molested a child in attacks that occurred July 1 and 18, and Aug. 1 and 19 of 2013. Three of the assaults occurred in east Bakersfield, and one in the city’s northeast.

District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, who prosecuted the case, issued a news release Friday in which she said the following:

“Johnson’s crimes were devastating to the victims that suffered through them, and the entire community was in fear in 2013 as his repeated offenses accumulated. I am proud of the role I was able to play in ensuring that Johnson received a fair trial and was ultimately found guilty of all charges.”

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