'Sadistic monster' gets life in prison for Bakersfield rapes

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - An east Bakersfield serial rapist was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to life in prison, with no chance of parole, plus 423 years.

    The so-called "East Side Rapist" will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    Billy Ray Johnson was found guilty in April on 24 charges. He was convicted on five counts of rape by force or fear, along with counts of assault, robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, possession of firearm by a felon, and lewd and lascivious acts with child under 14.

    Prosecutor Cynthia Zimmer said she was satisfied with the sentence.

    "He will never get out of custody," she told Eyewitness News. The judge had spent several hours going over every charge, and the specific sentence for each one.

    "I'm very relieved that Billy Ray Johnson, who is a sadistic monster, will spend every day of the rest of his life in state prison, where he belongs for committing these heinous crimes against very innocent victims," Zimmer said.

    Johnson carried out his string of attacks in east and northeast Bakersfield from July 1 through Aug. 19, 2013.

    In each assault, victims described a similarly dressed man: black ski mask, black hooded sweatshirt, black gloves and a backpack, among other attributes.

    Asked about the children involved in the incidents, Zimmer said that's a specifically troubling part of the case.

    "It says to me that he picked victims that had children in the house, because the mothers would do anything to protect these children, and were more compliant," the prosecutor said.

    Two jurors also sat through the day of the sentencing hearing. They did not want to be identified, but said they wanted to see this to the end.

    "I'm very happy with the sentencing. This person should never walk free again," one juror said. "He did some horrible, horrible things."

    The jury had served some three months on this trial, and the two panel members said Tuesday they were happy to do that on behalf of the community, and especially the victims.

    "I do pray for the victims," the juror said. "I want them to find closure, peace, and just happiness."

    The father of a victim was at the sentencing, but he didn't want to make any comments.

    Johnson sat with his attorneys during the hearing, and kept his face turned to the front of the court room.

    Defense attorney T.J. Brewer would only say Johnson was "doing well."

    He said the life sentence was what they expected if they lost the trial, especially with the "enhancements" on the sentences for charges like binding the victims, multiple victims, and special sex crimes.

    The defense team said they plan to file an appeal either by late Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Johnson was linked to the rapes by DNA and clothing evidence, and the prosecutor says they believe the case will stand.

    Zimmer said she was grateful for the solid work by investigators and the science staff.

    She also called the victims very brave.

    "The victims suffered horrifically," Zimmer said. "I'm hoping this two-year ordeal for them is over, and they can put this behind them and go on to live very happy lives."

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