Mears Man Pleaded Guilty to Molestation

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By Linda Cicoira — A Mears man, who pleaded no contest last week in Accomack Circuit Court to felony object sexual penetration, was sentenced to serve five years in prison in accordance with a plea bargain agreement the defendant made with Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan.

John William Johnston III, 66, of Cattail Road, was also initially indicted on counts of burglary and abduction by force. The victim was a 23-year-old woman. The crimes occurred Dec. 29, 2018. The agreement called for Johnston to be sentenced to 15 years with all but five suspended. His plea of no contest means he realized that the evidence was overwhelming, but he did not want to admit guilt. 

Johnston could have been sentenced to life in prison. He will be on supervised probation for three years and will be on good behavior for 15 years after release.

Morgan said Johnston showed up at the woman’s house and went inside without being invited. She discovered him while she attended to an infant. The Eastern Shore Post does not identify victims of sex offenses.

Morgan said Johnson first suggested she move into his house and have a relationship with him. The woman was acquainted with Johnston because he was the friend of an older relative. He took his pants off, was drinking from a flask, and eventually, he molested her before leaving. “While in jail, he began a process of getting her money so she would not testify against him,” Morgan said.

Johnston was also ordered to have no contact with the woman or her family.

In another case, murder suspect Tavone Tyrell Cropper, aka Tayvon Cropper, 28, of Pocomoke City, Md., was denied bail last week because of his criminal history. He was convicted of armed robbery in Somerset County, Md., according to testimony. Cropper is awaiting trial for premeditated murder and use of a firearm in connection with the 2016 death of Robert Franklin Baytops IV, 22, of Horntown. The crimes occurred Feb. 4, 2016. Cropper’s girlfriend, Ashley Harris, testified on Cropper’s behalf. She said the two are expecting a baby in October.

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