Sharkey man guilty of raping preteen

Published 11:08 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Sharkey County man faces life in prison after being convicted this week of sodomizing a pre-teen in 2011.

Jordy Devonte Johnson, 21, of Rolling Fork was found guilty Tuesday after a two-day trial for statutory rape in Sharkey County.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before returning the guilty verdict.

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Circuit Judge M. James Chaney set sentencing for May 6.

“We asked them to use their good common sense and sound honest judgment,” Assistant District Attorney Bert Carraway said. “The jury sent a message, and we are pleased to get justice for the victim.”

Johnson faces at least 20 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, Carraway said, who tried the case along with Assistant District Attorney Angela Carpenter.

Johnson must also register as a sex offender.

Though Johnson was indicted under the statutory rape statute, he forcibly raped the victim, who was 12 at the time of the assault, Carraway said.

“We proved in trial that there was no consent given, but it still falls under statutory rape,” he said.

Johnson, who was represented by Al Rhodes, was found guilty of raping the girl on Jan. 12, 2011. During trial a doctor testified that the girl showed signs of trauma consistent with sodomy and contusions on the back of her head that were consistent with a handprint, Carraway said.

During the trial, Rhodes contended that the victim made up the allegations because she and Johnson were in an argument.

The victim, Carraway said, no longer lives in Mississippi and flew in to testify during the trial.

“She was able to give a vivid account,” Carraway said.

The girl and doctors testified that since the attack she has been suffering from depression.

Chaney’s judicial records reflect that he has been particularly tough in sentencing sex offenders. In September, he sentenced Malcolm Shorter, 35, to 40 years in prison for enticing a child to meet for sexual purposes, molestation and statutory rape.

In March 2013, he sentenced Eddie Lee Harris, 30, to 40 years in prison for rape and 20 years for burglary. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Harris was convicted of breaking into a home in the 200 block of Drummond Street at about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 26, 2011, beating a disabled woman, raping her and then stealing her television.