Criminal case moving forward again for suspect in violent sexual assault of UF student
One year after the brutal rape of a University of Florida freshman in the parking lot of her off-campus apartment complex, the criminal case against the man accused in her attack is starting to move forward again.
Antwine Samuel Johnson, 32, of Gainesville looked around the courtroom and otherwise stood quietly Wednesday as the judge gave the prosecutor and defense lawyer an opportunity to update him on the status of the case. The brief hearing in Alachua County Circuit Court took only about two minutes.
The judge set another hearing for the next update on Oct. 26.
Johnson is expected back in court next week in a related case involving allegations that he tried to influence one of the key witnesses in the attack. In that case, Johnson indicated that prosecutors had refused to offer him any kind of plea deal.
After his arrest in the sexual assault in September 2021, Johnson had been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial in May. He was treated for an unspecified mental illness and cleared in July to proceed to face trial. The criminal case against him since then has slowly been moving ahead again.
Johnson is accused of kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of a woman jogging alongside the road in the early morning hours on Sept. 10, 2021. Hours later, around 3:30 a.m., he dragged a UF student across the parking lot from her front doorstep at an apartment complex near campus, according to the arrest report. He choked and beat her behind nearby bushes, raped her and stole her phone, leaving her unable to call for help, according to court records.
Later the same morning, he was accused of slapping his girlfriend in the face and breaking her phone during an argument when he returned home without her car. When she tried to call police from the other room with her work phone, Johnson punched her in the face and took the other phone before leaving, according to court records. Johnson’s girlfriend found her car in the parking lot where the UF student had been attacked, police said.
Johnson has been held in the Alachua County Jail since the attacks.
He is facing misdemeanor charges in a related case. He was under directions from a judge not to contact any of his accusers, but jail employees found a postcard he was trying to send to his then-girlfriend imploring her to tell prosecutors she did not want to pursue a criminal case against him.
“Just call and let them know you want to drop all charges against me,” he wrote, according to court records. “I’m not saying it’s going to make a big difference, I need much help as I can get.”
Jail deputies said Johnson also had been in touch by phone with the woman, which is also in violation of the court’s directives.
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