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Accused Serial Rapist Must Get Mental Review

Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles judge said Tuesday that he doubted the competence of an accused serial rapist and ordered further mental review.

Gary David Johnson, who was arrested after two alert rabbis called police, will appear in the mental health department of the Los Angeles County Superior Court and then is expected to be sent to Patton State Hospital for treatment.

The state had sought to try him for the rapes and punish him in prison rather than treat him in a mental health facility. He has pleaded not guilty.

Two psychiatrists, one for the prosecution and one for the defense, agreed that Johnson suffers from a mental illness, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Samuel Dordulian. The illness wasn’t specified, he said.

“I’m very disappointed, to say the least, about him being shipped to Patton,” he said.

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The victims range in age from 76 to 89. Dordulian said he was concerned that they might die before Johnson became competent to stand trial.

Johnson’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jackie Reid, said she agreed with the psychiatric evaluations.

Johnson is charged with sexually assaulting three women and attempting to assault a fourth in Hollywood and Hancock Park in July and August 2002. The attacks typically took place between mid-afternoon and early evening.

Johnson broke into some homes and talked his way into others, authorities said.

He was arrested that August after police circulated composite drawings of the rapist. A volunteer for a nonprofit Jewish medical emergency group spotted a man who looked like the suspect. The volunteer followed Johnson, then was joined by two rabbis. They watched him walk around, order ice cream and ring another doorbell. After consulting a police flier containing a sketch of the suspect, they called police.

Authorities said Johnson had a criminal record in California, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina.


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