DNA leads to arrest of serial rapist

Billy Ray Johnson, 33, was indicted Monday on 21 felony charges.
BAKERSFIELD, CA -- The Kern County District Attorney said the masked serial rapist, who terrorized east Bakersfield this past summer, is behind bars.

Billy Ray Johnson, 33 has a long criminal record for robberies, firearm possession, and gang-related activity, but not for sexual assault. District Attorney Lisa Green said Johnson's DNA was in the criminal DNA database CODIS, which linked him to seven sexual assaults, including one on a minor.

The rapes started in July in both the city and the county. The first was July 1 in the 2900 block of Virginia Avenue. The second on July 18 at the 4300 block of Columbus Street. Sheriff deputies said the attacker returned to the same Virginia Avenue neighborhood on August 1, tied up four people and assault two of them. Then August 19, police said he struck again in the 200 block of Quantico Avenue.

"When the very first case occurred, my staff briefed me," said Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

"When the second one occurred, we knew that this was on of the bad guys."

Johnson is no stranger to law enforcement. He has a long record since he was 18-years-old. Law enforcement won't say how Johnson became a suspect, but they said they were investigating him for some time.

"He was under surveillance for awhile I can tell you that," said Green.

Investigators said Johnson slipped up in October when he was caught shooting out of a car. Police arrested him and he's been in jail since October 14, but law enforcement had to wait until DNA test results came back from the sexual assault cases.

"Johnson has a felony conviction that cause him to be in CODIS," said Green.

"With the advent of DNA, this is one of those cases you'll see more of in the future, because DNA is the thing that really has propelled law enforcement in the last few years," said Youngblood.

Johnson had his first court appearance Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty to 21 felony charges. In addition to the sexual assault charges, Johnson faces charges of burglary, robbery, false imprisonment, and weapons charges. His trial date is scheduled for February 10.
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