Texas Execution Information Center

Johnny Johnson

Johnny Ray Johnson, 51, was executed by lethal injection on 12 February 2009 in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a woman after she declined to have sex with him.

On 27 March 1995, Johnson, then 37, offered to give Leah Smith, a crack addict, some of his crack cocaine in exchange for sex. According to Johnson, after Smith smoked the crack, she refused to have sex with him. He then became angry, grabbed her, ripped her clothes off, and threw her to the ground. When she fought back with a wooden board, Johnson struck her head against a concrete curb until she stopped fighting, then he raped her. Johnson then stomped on Smith's face five or six times. He then left, but after realizing he had left his wallet at the scene, he returned and raped Smith again. He then picked up his wallet and her boots and left Smith on the ground to die.

The victim sustained severe injuries to her mouth, face, head, and neck. Her teeth were knocked out, her tongue was displaced, both sides of her jawbone were fractured, and she sustained head injuries. The medical examiner testified that the victim died from swallowing her own blood as it accumulated in the back of her throat while she was lying face up.

After his arrest, Johnson confessed to raping and murdering Smith. He said that he killed her because she made him angry while he was raping her by threatening to file rape charges against him.

Johnson also confessed to numerous other rapes and murders. He confessed to raping a total of 13 other women, including his 8-year-old niece. Many of these rapes included brutal beatings or chokings, and at least two of them resulted in the victim's death. Johnson gave detailed confessions about these murders and directed police to the scenes where they occurred. Johnson also confessed to a third murder, but authorities concluded that Johnson must have been mistaken in that case, wrongly believing that an injured victim died. Some of Johnson's surviving victims testified against him at his punishment hearing.

Johnson had been to prison three times before on convictions for burglary, aggravated assault, and sexual assault beginning in 1978. He also had numerous convictions for lesser offenses. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Johnson had been arrested twenty times.

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