Ularius Johnson, 24, received the maximum sentence from Circuit Judge Debra Jones for 27 indictments. Jones gave Johnson 15 consecutive life sentences and an additional 192 years in prison on 12 other charges.
Johnson was arrested in 2009 in connection with several kidnapping and home invasion cases that took place in Anniston and Calhoun County between 2007 and 2009. After a trial lasting more than two weeks in which more than 50 witnesses testified and more than 300 items of evidence were entered into court, a jury found Johnson guilty on Feb. 29 of two counts of rape, three counts of sodomy, four counts of burglary, six counts of kidnapping, four counts of robbery, three counts of unauthorized use of an occupied vehicle, two counts of receiving stolen property, and assault with a firearm.
Five of the victims who testified at Johnson’s trial spoke at the sentencing hearing Monday, asking that Johnson receive the maximum punishment allowed by law.
“If he was just a thief, I wouldn’t ask,” said one of victims through tears. “But he’s a serial sexual predator, and I don’t believe that will ever change. I was his first and it only got worse.”
Several of the testimonies from the victims detailed the emotional, psychological and physical damage caused in the aftermath of their encounters with Johnson. Kay Saunders, who required surgery to save her pinky finger after she was shot during a struggle with Johnson during a home invasion in 2009, said she can still feel pain when performing everyday tasks including typing and yard work.
“I will have to live with this the rest of my life, just as Ularius Johnson should have to live with the results of his actions,” Saunders said.
Another victim said she required counseling and prescription medicine to sleep after she was sexually assaulted in a home invasion in 2008. The victim said the incident changed her lifestyle, and she rarely left the house in fear her assailant would once again harm her and her child.
“I never knew how extremely weak I could be until this man held a gun to my four-month-old baby’s head,” she said. “I felt like a failure because I couldn’t even protect my own baby.”
But when it came time for Johnson to speak, he maintained his innocence, telling Jones “I didn’t do it,” several times.
Johnson repeated claims during his trial that he was a drug dealer, and he had received items stolen from the victims from his “customers” in exchange for marijuana and crack cocaine.
“I came in contact with their property, but I didn’t do it,” Johnson said. “Nothing’s changed. It’s as simple as that.”
When being led out of the courtroom after hearing his sentence, a handcuffed Johnson directed a profanity and an obscene gesture with his hands towards the judge, the District Attorney’s table and the victims.
Johnson’s attorneys, Tim Burgess and David Johnston, indicated Monday they would appeal the sentences and represent Johnson in the appeals process.
Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh, who prosecuted the case, said with amount of charges Johnson faces it is unlikely he’ll ever be released from prison.
“With that many consecutive life sentences, and of course there will be protest from the victims at every turn, I don’t see him ever getting out,” he said.
Johnson has served 917 days in jail since his arrest in 2009, which will count towards time served in his sentence.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star