A jury has recommended a 14-year prison sentence for a West Virginia man who tracked down his estranged wife in Spotsylvania County last year and sexually assaulted her.

Deandre Johnson, 24, of Ridgeley, W.Va., was convicted in Spotsylvania Circuit Court of rape, strangulation, domestic assault and unlawful entry. Johnson, who represented himself, was acquitted of abduction and assault and battery charges following a daylong trial Wednesday that ended just before midnight.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Amanda Sweeney, Johnson and the victim were married in November, but separated a short time later. The victim said she was trying to get a divorce or have the marriage annulled.

The woman was with her boyfriend at a residence in Spotsylvania the night of Dec. 26 when Johnson showed up wearing all black. He threatened the boyfriend and ordered him to leave, then forced the woman into the residence.

The boyfriend, who doesn’t speak English, tried to call the woman’s father, but was unable to reach him. He then called police after going into the home and seeing Johnson choking the woman, he testified.

The boyfriend fled again after Johnson came toward him, but deputies were on the way. Johnson left the home after hearing sirens, leaving behind his shoes, jacket and DNA, according to the evidence.

Johnson was arrested a short time later when he returned to the home while authorities were still there. Detective Frank Corona said Johnson admitted grabbing the woman and taking her into the apartment, but denied sexually assaulting her.

However, Sweeney argued that the evidence found on the woman was consistent with her story, as were telephone calls Johnson made from jail and an interview he had with investigators.

The woman, who doesn’t live in Spotsylvania, testified that Johnson had sexually assaulted her before, but she married him anyway before realizing she’d made a mistake.

In tearful testimony Wednesday, Johnson admitted that he is obsessed with the woman and said that he simply wanted to have children with her. He said their Dec. 26 encounter was fine until she mocked him for being unable to perform sexually that day.

Johnson was convicted in April of five counts of violating a protective order for contacts he made to the woman from jail. He received a total of 10 months on those convictions.

Sweeney asked the jury for 30 years and provided a recent letter Johnson sent the victim in which he threatened to hunt her down after he got out of prison. He warned the woman not to have children with anyone else and said all of her body belongs to him.

Judge Ricardo Rigual will formally sentence Johnson on Aug. 8. The judge granted Johnson’s request to have an attorney appointed for his sentencing and pending appeal.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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