WARREN - Kevin Johns told a jury Wednesday that the two women who accused him of robbery, kidnapping and rape are simply trying to set him up because they think he stole money from them.
Johns said the women, who testified against him this week, actually have the wrong guy. He said it was a former prison buddy, Taemarr Walker, who took the money last April. Walker, 24, of Warren, was killed in a confrontation with a Warren police officer in October.
Jurors will continue their deliberations today in the case after getting instructions from Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.
Johns, 24, originally from Cincinnati, said he met Walker while both were serving prison sentences in Noble Correctional Institution in 2010. Johns was convicted of robbery and assaulting a police officer.
He said Walker was indebted to him since he kept commissary money for him which otherwise would have been taken by prison officials for overdue court costs.
After both were released, Johns visited Walker in Warren and the two ''hung out'' together.
Johns said he and Walker rented a room at an Austintown motel, where Johns said he had consensual sex with one of the women. The woman has accused him of raping her at gunpoint.
Johns said the DNA match from his semen was taken by the woman after sex in the motel and turned over to police later after she went to a hospital with the rape allegation.
''I'm not a rapist,'' Johns insisted.
Johns' attorney, Dan Keating, has also tried to convince the jury of six men and six women that a Facebook posting by one of the women proves that the allegations were made up. But the woman, who posted the message under an alias, testified Tuesday that she made up the message after she had a ''falling out'' with her former friend and roommate.
Assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker said Johns version of the story is laughable and unsupported by any receipts from the unknown motel.
''It's the first time anyone has heard this story,'' said Becker cross examining Johns as the last witness in the case.
The woman who said she was raped took the witness stand again Wednesday when called as a defense witness, telling jurors that Walker tried to convince her to drop charges against Johns.
In his closing arguments, Becker said the whole crime was set up by Walker as a way to pay him back for money owed.
Both women say they had Walker on their cellphone April 13 and drove to his house to pick him up and go to Eastwood Mall. Walker, they said, urged them to come to his Woodbine Avenue S.E. home, where instead of Walker, they encountered a disguised Johns, who ordered them into the car at gunpoint.
The gunman ordered them to drive around, stealing their cellphones after demanding money. Eventually, he ordered them to pull into the driveway of a home at Kenilworth Avenue and Grandview S.E., where the driver was ordered out of the car and told to stand by a fence gate while he raped the other female in the back seat of the car, according to the women.
The jacket he used to wipe himself off with after the rape is the same article of clothing Johns said he used when they were in the motel.
State forensic scientists explained in court that they found a match between DNA found on the jacket, the woman's underwear and the sample taken from Johns after he was arrested.
And while Johns insisted that he is not a rapist, Becker confronted him with two reports from male inmates in the Trumbull County Jail who told deputies they were raped inside the jail by Johns.
Johns has never been charged with any sexual assaults in the jail that reportedly occurred last summer but weren't reported until October. Keating stressed how his client was never charged with anything while in jail.
Johns could face 50 years or more if convicted of the two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of kidnapping and one count of rape - all with a firearms specifications - and an additional charge of a having weapons while under disability.