A DuPont man was sentenced Monday to more than nine years in prison for assaulting two women he had picked up in Olympia and took to an abandoned motel.
Bryon Eldon Johnston, 36, drew the sentence after suggesting to the judge that his victims may have “tried to minimize their role” — prompting one of the women to leave the courtroom in anger.
Johnston had pleaded guilty in Thurston County Superior Court in December to two counts of indecent liberties, two counts of unlawful imprisonment and one count of felony harassment.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Mary Sue Wilson said she didn’t hear anything from Johnston that indicated he understood the seriousness of the crimes.
At Monday’s hearing, the mother of one victim told the court about the psychological suffering her daughter has endured since the November 2013 attack. At that time, Johnston sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman at Bailey’s Motor Inn on Martin Way after picking her up in downtown Olympia, according to court documents.
The victim requires regular therapy while dealing with nightmares and flashbacks, the mother said.
“She told me she thought she was going to die,” she said in an emotional testimony. “Her innocence has been robbed.”
Johnston also was accused of a similar incident that took place in February 2014. Police had responded to a report of an unknown male who had forcefully abducted a woman from a bus stop, then tried to sexually assault her at the abandoned Bailey’s Motor Inn. The 22-year-old victim escaped from the vehicle, and detectives were able to trace a discarded coffee cup at the scene back to Johnston.
Johnston had originally been charged with two counts of kidnapping, rape and attempted rape.
Defense attorney Paul Strophy asked the court for a more lenient sentence of 89 months, noting that Johnston is the father of four children. During Monday’s hearing, Johnston apologized for his actions, but also suggested that the victims’ statements about the incidents were inaccurate.
“Maybe they tried to minimize their role,” he said.