Officer testifies that Lufkin man accused of sexual assault was babbling incoherently

Garland Johnson (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Garland Johnson (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The trial of a Lufkin man accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old neighbor in her apartment on Raguet Street in May 2013 continued Tuesday in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Court.

During day 1 of the trial, five witnesses took the stand including the alleged victim. The alleged victim testified to the jury telling her recollection of events on the night of the alleged attack. She said Garland Johnson, 39, of Lufkin, kicked in her apartment door and tried to sexually assault her. After the woman screamed for help and yelled rape, her neighbor eventually came to help her and called police.

The witness who called police on the night of the alleged attack was Rokasky Maxy.

Lufkin Police arrested Johnson in May 2013 for sexual assault and burglary after he allegedly kicked down the apartment door in the 2300 block of North Raguet Street and sexually assaulted a female acquaintance.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty to all charges listed in the indictment read by District Attorney Art Bauereiss.

When the victim was cross examined by the defense she gave curt, short answers prompting defense attorney Rudy Velasquez to ask her if she was taking this seriously and remind her that this is not a joke and a man's life was at stake.

Day two of the trial began with Lufkin Police Officer John Davis taking the stand.

Davis said he located Johnson's pants with his wallet at the scene and found out he had a warrant out for his arrest. Davis transported Johnson to the county jail on May 26, 2013

The state had Davis open bags of evidence that were collected from Johnson's pants at the scene and identify those items for the jury.

Davis, like the other two officers who testified on Monday, said that Johnson was babbling incoherently when officers arrived on the scene

Deborah Walsh with the Lufkin Police Department's Crime Scene Unit took the stand second and described what she did on the scene. She said she photographed the victim and the room.

She said she observed several bite marks, scratches, and abrasions on the victim the night of the alleged attack.

The prosecution asked Walsh to describe the photographs of the room that she took May 26 to the jury.

Welsh said when she interviewed Johnson at the jail, he appeared to have a normal demeanor.

When he took the stand Tuesday afternoon Detective Ronald Stubblefield, like the other responding LPD officers, describes how the door appeared to be kicked in and tells the jury about the different statements he took while investigating the reported sexual assault.

Stubblefield said after he left the scene on May 26, 2013 he then went to Harold's House to take possession of the SANE exam/Rape kit and log it into evidence.

Stubblefield said after that he went to the jail to get Johnson to consent to take a DNA swab from him for evidence and then also read him his Miranda rights and interviewed him.

The detective described his demeanor during the audio-taped interview as a Southern-slow talking individual.

The prosecution moved to admit the audio-tapped recording between Detective Stubblefield and Garland Johnson into evidence, and when Velasquez objected, White asked the attorneys to approach the bench.

White overruled his objection, and the tape was submitted into evidence. Bauereiss played the tape in its entirety to the jury.

"I want to know what's going on … all I know is when I woke up I was in jail," Johnson said in the recorded interview.

Later, Johnson said the alleged victim was "needing money" and that she had apparently used all her money on the drugs they used that day.

"She said I really wanted to get some you know whatever she uses," Johnson said  in the audio recording. "I need some sex. I haven't had a woman in 8 or 9 months."

Johnson said that he and the alleged victim agreed to go get some drugs, and they did.

"I was going to try the weed but that wasn't no ordinary weed, sir, because it had me …," Johnson said in the interview.

During the recorded interview with Stubblefield, Johnson said he kept telling the alleged victim that if she was uncomfortable with them having sex, they weren't going to do it.

"I left twice, so I went back and said we are going to finish what we started," Johnson said. "She let me in and said OK, and I said, "Did I leave anything here?"

Later, Johnson said he got on the floor because his head started sweating really badly. He told the detective that he asked the alleged victim, "What did you give me?"

At one point, Johnson told the detective that he and the alleged victim were naked and in bed together on of the three times he went to her apartment.

"Would it surprise you to know that she was calling for help and yelling for rape?" Stubblefield asked during the recorded interview.

"Really?" Garland replied.

Then Johnson asked about the witness and who the witness was. Then Stubblefield asked him if he drank anything in the room while he was there.

"I know she fixed the drugs up for me to use them," Johnson said. "I had bought coke, too."

During the interview, Johnson admitted to having a drug problem. He also said because he has some medical issues with his shoulder and liver, he takes pills.

When Stubblefield told Johnson that he had been formally charged by the Lufkin Police Department with sexual assault and burglary, Johnson said, "I didn't have sex. I ain't broke in."

"I didn't force myself into her room she wanted me to go there," Johnson said. "This is the second time I've been approached with this. I'm a man I wanted some sex. Maybe I'm just being set up because she wanted my money. I know I didn't kick the door in."

"You left twice, and you came back the third time because you wanted to finish what you started and finish having sex because she had your money," Stubblefield said.

Then the detective told Johnson that when police officers arrived, Johnson was lying naked on the floor and masturbating.

"See, that's how I know they gave me something [expletive] up," Johnson said.

At one point in the audio recording, Stubblefield told Johnson that there was documented proof that the alleged victim had bite marks all over her body, and Johnson sighed audibly.

When the detective asked Johnson if he remembered kissing or biting the alleged victim or putting his head between her legs, the suspect said, "No. Aww man."

In the audio recording Johnson asked the LPD detective if they had tested him for drugs.

"He ain't going to believe that, her husband," Johnson said. "There was torn-up rubber papers on the floor. I guess that's just what she does, have men in and out of there."

Stubblefield said that although it may sound like Johnson was intoxicated during the audio-taped interview, he believed the suspect was coherent and able to understand what was going on. He said that he believes that's just the way Johnson talks.

Stubblefield said that after he arrived on the scene, the victim's demeanor appeared calm.

At one point during questioning, Velasquez asked Stubblefield if he turned off the audio recording at any point and the detective said, "I have said under oath that I did not turn that thing off."

The defense asked why the detective didn't do a drug test when the defendant specifically asked for one. The detective said that a drug test wouldn't have proved that Johnson had done any drugs that specific night.

The prosecution then called their next witness, Christy Pate, who maintains the property and evidence room.

She detailed the process of maintaining the custody of evidence and the limited access to the evidence room. Pate said there was a slight delay in the SANE kit getting sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Houston.

Pate said she has never had any reason to ever open a rape kit.

The prosecution called Jessica Lake who works with the Texas Department of Public Safety in forensic evidence.

Lake says all the swabs taken were in the rape kit were AP negative which means there was no evidence of semen.

Lake said she swabbed the victim's underwear to see if there was any DNA on them, and there were multiple holes throughout and a visible stain in the crotch.

The prosecution then asked Lake to explain the results in her report based on her findings from examining the rape kit.

Her report did indicate there was the presence of some kind of DNA but her job was just to identify if there was any DNA present and then pass that information on to a DNA analyst. Lake said.

The next witness to take the stand was Claire Meyers, a forensic scientist with the Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Houston who performs DNA analysis.

She analyzed various swabs for DNA evidence like finger nail scrapings, swabs from supposed bite marks on the victim's body, vaginal swabs, and a buckle swab from Garland Johnson.

Meyers said she did not test the fingernail scrapings she was given for DNA and then explained the results of her DNA analysis to the jury.

Bauereiss then recalled witness Deborah Walsh back to the stand to discuss the pictures she took of the door at the apartment on the night of the alleged crime.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.