I-35 rock-throwing suspect on trial in unrelated sex assault case



Highlights

Police have arrested Johnson in rock-throwing incidents along I-35 that have left some victims badly injured

Johnson says he tried to help keep several dozen children out of trouble in the trailer park where he lives

The man police say is behind a rash of rock throwing incidents along Interstate 35 is on trial for an unrelated charge of sexual assault of a child.

Patrick Eugene Johnson testified Wednesday he is the real victim in his case and that financial motives are behind an accusation from a man who says he was a minor when Johnson had sex with him.

At the time of the alleged assault, the man was between the ages of 13 and 15.

Travis County prosecutor Amber Platt dismissed Johnson’s claim about the man’s financial motives, noting that Johnson, who lived in a mobile home, clearly had limited financial resources for the victim to target.

Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning.

In Johnson’s other felony case, police say he is behind many of the 90 rock-throwing incidents along I-35 that have left some victims badly injured. He has been charged with seven felonies.

RELATED: How a step back, and fresh eyes, cracked Austin’s rock-throwing case

Johnson, 60, testified to being something of a philanthropist in his mobile home community and said that at the time of his arrest he had befriended eight or nine underprivileged children. Aiming to keep kids out of trouble, Johnson said he took them on weekend cruises in his vehicle and invited them to his home to play video games. He said he offered them meals and money. Over the years, Johnson testified, he helped raise 25 children — many of them the sons of Mexican immigrants — and gained legal guardianship to four of them.

In a recorded phone call played for the jury, the alleged victim asked Johnson if he could come over for oral sex to which Johnson responded, “That’s up to you.” Johnson says he was sedated from surgery when he made the comment.

Another witness — not the alleged victim — testified to engaging in a sexual relationship with Johnson, but only after the witness turned 17. Prosecutors say Johnson has been sending that man several hundred dollars each month to coerce his testimony.


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