Judge Hosemann jailed in attack

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2002

[12/29/01]Warren County Judge Gerald Hosemann was charged Friday afternoon with beating, kicking and stomping a former court reporter who was found nearly a month ago on property he owns in Hinds County.

“If you violate the law, you pay the price,” said Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin, whose deputies arrested Hosemann at his Hinds County farm at about 3 p.m. and took him to the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond.

“(Juanita Johnston) alleges she was beaten, kicked and stomped on and he’s the one responsible for her injuries,” McMillin said.

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Hosemann, 49, was being held without bond on charges of aggravated assault pending a hearing before Hinds County Judge Bobby DeLaughter on Monday. The initial court hearing could be at the Hinds County Courthouse in Raymond, or DeLaughter could order that Hosemann be moved to the county’s other courthouse, in Jackson, for the hearing, McMillin said.

Meanwhile Friday, Juanita “Nita” Johnston, 47, was transferred to University Medical Center in Jackson after being treated in the critical care unit of ParkView Regional Medical Center in Vicksburg since Dec. 6.

Paul Kelly Loyacono, Vicksburg attorney and spokesman for Johnston’s family, said the family had no immediate statement regarding the arrest.

Loyacono said Johnston has been off a respirator for several days and is no longer undergoing daily dialysis for injuries to her kidneys. At UMC, she was to receive specialized neurological care, Loyacono said. He said there is a concern that Johnston, whose injuries reportedly were concentrated in her abdomen and lower back, may not walk again. Family members said she had multiple bruises and was suffering from exposure when she was found.

“She’s improved, but she is still gravely ill,” Loyacono said. “She’s getting stronger.”

Johnston was found by Hosemann and Billy Leist, a local plumber and rancher, about 10 feet behind a mobile home on the Hinds County property after family members initiated a search. She had last been seen by her family Dec. 4.

The only public comment Hosemann has made since the attack came the day after Johnston was found. Contacted at his home, Hosemann said he was concerned and did not know how Johnston was injured.

Hosemann, who has been Warren County Court judge and Warren County Youth Court judge for 15 years, was reported to be at the hospital Dec. 12 asking about Johnston’s condition. Reports said he was not allowed to see Johnston.

The family has said Johnston does not want to see Hosemann, her former employer.

Johnston, retired from court reporting, was employed in Hosemann’s courtroom for several years, and the two were accused of adultery in a 1996 divorce petition by her ex-husband.

The attack came weeks after Hosemann and his current wife filed papers in Hinds County to end their three-month marriage.

Claiming irreconcilable differences, the joint petition for divorce says Julia Skinner Hosemann may live at the mobile home near Utica where Johnston was found. In order for the Hinds County court to have jurisdiction in the divorce, at least one spouse must claim to be a Hinds County resident.