Teen Tortured, Forcibly Tattooed, Left for Dead by Peers
Stetson Johnson, 18, holds back his hair to show a tattoo on his forehead in his home in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 4, 2011.
May 05, 2011
DEL CITY, Okla. — Two men and two women are accused of pinning down a man who has learning disabilities, tattooing the word “RAPEST” on his forehead and shocking his genitals with a stun gun before beating him unconscious with a baseball bat, police said Wednesday.
The accused told police they attacked Stetson Johnson, 18, because he tried to have sex with one of them, according to a police spokesman. Detectives found no evidence to support their claims, he said.
Johnson, of Oklahoma City, said he is acquainted with all four but has never tried to hurt any of them. He said the April 17 attack began when he was thrown to the ground and kicked in the face “dozens of times” by two men while two women took turns using a stun gun on his genitals. He said the attackers yelled obscenities at him.
“I was screaming. It was hurting,” he said. “After they kicked me in the face I said, ‘Oh my god, they’re going to kill me.’”
Two women and two men are being held without bail but have not been formally charged. Capt. Jody Suit, spokesman for the Del City Police Department, said police plan to recommend charges of assault and battery, maiming by disfigurement and kidnapping.
The attackers placed duct tape around Johnson’s hands and held him down while one tattooed the word “RAPEST” on his forehead, Johnson said. The word, apparently a misspelling of “rapist,” has since been covered with another tattoo that looks like a bar code.
The attackers also tattooed a phrase on his chest that resembles “I like little boys,” police said.
They then put Johnson in a car and transported him to Eagle Lake in Del City, where he was beaten in the arms and head with a baseball bat, causing a gash in his head that required 18 stitches to close.
Johnson said he was unconscious for about two hours before he awoke and sought help.
“When I got up I felt dizzy,” he said. Johnson said he tried to get help from motorists on a nearby highway before walking about a quarter of a mile to a mobile home park, where a resident called police.
“They found him almost dead,” Suit said.
Johnson spent a week in the hospital, including three days in the intensive care unit, for treatment of a fractured skull, broken nose and other wounds sustained in the beating.
“They almost killed me,” he said.
Police seized tattoo guns, needles, ink and a Taser gun after the suspects were taken into custody, according to a police report.
Suit says the attackers told authorities they were trying to punish Johnson after one of the women accused him of trying to have sex with her. Johnson denies that, and Suit says there’s no evidence to support it.
“To me it’s bullying. The guy has the mentality of a fifth-grader,” Suit said.
He said the four have not yet been assigned public defenders.
Johnson bears scars from the attack and said he has trouble breathing and seeing out of one eye. He also said he suffers from anxiety and has nightmares about being killed.
“Everywhere I go, I look around like, ’What’s going to happen?’” he said. “I don’t understand why they would do something like this until I was almost dead. They deserve justice.”
He said he would like to have the tattoos removed but cannot afford it. In the meantime, he had the one on his forehead turned into a barcode, with the numerals “7” that he hopes will bring him luck and a reference to 2010, which he said was a good year for him.
Johnson’s mother, Lucy Ford, said she and her son plan to move from their southwest Oklahoma City home.
“He feels that it’s unsafe for him here. He can’t sleep at night,” Ford said. “I just can’t believe that people would be so mean. He’s 18 years old. He has his whole life before him. And he almost lost it?”
Johnson’s sister, Crystal Cline, said the incident makes her fear for the safety of her two small children.
“People are evil these days,” Cline said.
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