Accused and alleged victim testify in cold case rape trial - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Accused and alleged victim testify in cold case rape trial

Johnell Earl Ledoux. (Source:Lake Charles Police Department) Johnell Earl Ledoux. (Source:Lake Charles Police Department)

The man charged with aggravated rape from 25 years ago  took the stand today in his own defense--as did the alleged victim.

Johnell Ledoux  told jurors today that he and the woman did have a sexual encounter,  but he says it was not rape. He also claims he never had a gun at the time. 

It's a cold case rape investigation that made national headlines when featured in a show called Cold Justice Sex Crimes.

Ledoux did admit on the stand that he has been convicted of aggravated battery, armed robbery and simple escape.  He says he was first convicted of a crime in 1994.

It's a cold case rape investigation that made national headlines when featured in a show called Cold Justice Sex Crimes in 2015.  The alleged victim in the case admitted on the program, and on the witness stand, that she was a drug addict and that she sometimes prostituted herself in order to get money for drugs.

However, she said under oath, that Ledoux raped her at gunpoint in 1992.  She demonstrated for the jury how she says her assailant came up behind her, looked in her pockets and then turned her around and raped her.  She testified Ledoux put a condom on and raped her after ripping off her panties.  She identified the underwear she had on at the time and testified that they "are all torn up, ripped." 

The woman told jurors that she went to the hospital where a rape kit was done to gather evidence.  She told jurors what happened to her "changed everything.  I was always scared," she said.  

She told jurors what happened October 20, 1992 was not consensual sex and that it was extremely traumatic. She said she was homeless at the time.

She says in 2015 Lt. Kevin Kirkum, with Lake Charles Police Department, contacted her to see if she still wanted justice.  She wound up being part of the TV show, Cold Justice Sex Crimes.  She told the jury that "she wanted to be left alone to die because she was feeling so bad about herself."

She says, before she didn't want anyone to know what had happened to her but said, after she participated in the documentary, that she felt "empowered."

The alleged victim underwent aggressive cross-examination by defense attorney Wilford Carter who suggests the encounter instead was sex in exchange for drugs. Carter challenged her suggestion that she wasn't high when the sexual encounter happened, going into extensive questioning about how often she smoked crack, and how long a high lasts, and how many rocks of crack she would do at one time. 

Numerous times Carter tried to suggest that she remembered only what supported her story and conveniently didn't remember what he was asking about. He worked to identify inconsistencies between her testimony and previous statement to police and statements on the TV show. At least once Carter told the woman, "I think you're lying."  And he brought out that the police officer who wrote the initial report characterized the situation as "suspicious circumstances."  

Carter tried to suggest she brought the condom to the scene and also questioned why she didn't run away while Ledoux was putting on condom.  She said she didn't try to escape because Ledoux had a gun.  "I can't outrun a bullet," she said.

After being asked numerous times and different ways, the witness insisted that while she did crack and some prostituting, she denies it was a sex for drugs transaction.  "I was raped at gunpoint," she said again.

In the afternoon the defense put on a witness who was a good friend of Ledoux's who testified he never saw him with a gun. The defense also put on an employee with a local rehab facility to try to show that crack addicts don't typically take breaks from the drugs,

KPLC's Theresa Schmidt is covering the trial and providing updates on Twitter.  For details of the latest testimony click here.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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