6-minute guilty verdict in child sex case, 3 life sentences imposed

Jurors needed only 6 minutes Thursday to find Bruce Ramond Johnson guilty of repeatedly sexually abusing a girl during her 4th grade year, and Circuit Judge Brantley Clark sentenced him to three consecutive life sentences – one for each count of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation.

In announcing the fast verdict and life sentences, State Attorney Larry Basford noted the teamwork and collaboration needed among the various agencies in a case where the crimes occurred in Panama City but were disclosed later in another state.

Prosecutors Barbara Beasley (seated, left) and Jennifer Lieb confer in court, with the defendant seated at the far right.

Prosecutors Jennifer Lieb and Barbara Beasley brought together evidence and witnesses – including the victim – from three states to present the case to jurors.

In addition to the three life sentences, Johnson, 39, was designated as a Sexual Predator.

“The victim was scared and held this inside for over a year, and has shown tremendous courage in facing her abuser in court, which led to his conviction and three life sentences,” Lieb said. “Thanks to her courage, other children in the community are protected from him. Along with her testimony, this conviction was made possible by the collaboration of childrens’ advocacy centers, law enforcement agencies and medical professionals in multiple jurisdictions.”

Lieb called seven witnesses and presented evidence at trial that Johnson committed the acts against the victim in 2015 and 2016 while she lived in Panama City and was about 9 years old.

The victim was interviewed by Amy Bock, a licensed counselor in Ohio specializing in child sexual abuse victims, and during the interview discussed the three instances of sexual abuse. She testified she did not say anything prior to that, “because I was afraid of the outcome, he’d get mad.”

Johnson was arrested by Panama City police Det. C. Clark in February, 2017.

Prosecutors also presented testimony from another young girl who said she was sexually abused by Johnson under similar circumstances. Prosecutors noted the two victims did not know each other.

Johnson did not take the stand.

For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov.