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Garfield man in custody facing rape charges

A 21-year-old man with a Garfield address is now facing charges as the result of rape allegations. Johnny Lee Williams, according to Chief Randy Ellison with Swainsboro Police Department, is accused in two separate incidents involving two different females. The alleged crimes happened less than three days apart.

The Chronicle received a news lead two weeks ago and just had a chance to sit down with the city’s police chief Friday. At that time, he provided insightful context about Williams’s charges. Detective Ashley Riner is assigned to the case, and he joined in the interview as well.

The females’ names will be substituted for privacy throughout this report. Both females were, according to Chief Ellison and Riner, around 18- or 19-years-old.

The first incident took place at Harmon Park. Williams had befriended the female, Jane Doe, on social media. His profile reportedly used several different photos.

Jane Doe often frequented Harmon Park after work and did so on the date of the incident. Williams proposed the two meet, but she declined. He showed up at the park and pursued her. Chief Ellison and Riner alike stated they did not have enough evidence to charge him with rape in this instance; instead, he was charged with robbery by sudden snatching as he, in the tussle with Jane Doe, stole her wallet.

Jane Doe was able to free herself from Williams and found an individual who was with her (but not in her direct vicinity) at the park that evening.

Williams then reportedly fled the park and went to nearby Mojo’s Wine & Spirits, where he asked an employee for a ride. The employee did not comply with the request, and Williams left the premises on foot.

Jane Doe filed a report about the incident, although she was unable to definitively provide his name due to the confusing nature of the social media profile. Nonetheless, she as well as the Mojo’s employee would come into play a few days later.

On January 28, Williams reappeared on law enforcement’s radar. A second female, Jackie Doe, reported to Emanuel Medical Center. There, she underwent a rape kit. Officers responded to the facility and spoke with Jackie Doe and her grandmother. At this point, the investigative team learned Williams had, indeed, reportedly committed a rape. (Chief Ellison and Riner alike stated on the record Friday, however, the rape kit had yet to be returned. This was anticipated to be completed in the coming days.)

This second victim was able to identify Williams by name and give officials information regarding his potential whereabouts. Additionally, the employee from Mojo's was also able to positively identify him. Officials checked the store's surveillance photos and matched Williams in that way as well.

Investigators responded to that location. Williams was apprehended, arrested, transported, and booked that same evening.

Jane Doe was then contacted by Swainsboro Police Department. Specifically, she was asked to come in and attempt to identify Williams in a 6-man line-up. Chief Ellison says the first victim was able to do so immediately.

Williams, as of Friday, remained in custody. The two representatives from the city’s police force were unaware if he has faced or been convicted of similar charges in the past.

Should Williams not enter a plea agreement, the case will move on to Emanuel County Superior Court. Look for updates accordingly.

For now, the chief and the assigned investigator say this progress—having someone in custody—is an important first step in ensuring Swainsboro a safer place for all citizens. Crimes like that of which Williams is accused are serious in nature, and Swainsboro Police Department is committed to utilizing the justice system to hold those charged accountable while helping victims at the same time.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-656-4673. Swainsboro Police Department stands ready to take your call locally as well at 478-237-8967.

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