Crime

DuPont dad pleads guilty to assaulting 2 women he picked up in Olympia

A DuPont man originally charged with kidnapping and rape after picking up women in Olympia pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of indecent liberties, two counts of unlawful imprisonment and one count of felony harassment.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch accepted the plea from Bryon Eldon Johnston, 36, who now faces a possible prison sentence of up to nine and a half years.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 12.

Johnston was previously charged with two counts of kidnapping, rape and attempted rape in connection with two separate incidents.

A used coffee cup from Starbucks played a role in Johnston’s arrest earlier this year.

In February, Olympia police 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 on Martin Way.

The victim, 22, escaped from the suspect’s vehicle. After the suspect fled, the victim alerted officers to two coffee cups on the ground that had been inside the vehicle, according to court documents. Johnston was arrested in March after Olympia police traced a sticker on one coffee cup to a Starbucks drive-through, where the transaction had been recorded on surveillance video.

The victim later admitted to detectives that she had willingly accepted the ride, but had initially been embarrassed to say so, according to documents.

While investigating the case, detectives learned of a similar incident that occurred in November 2013, in which a suspect offered a ride to a 20-year-old woman on Fourth Avenue in Olympia, then drove to Bailey’s Motor Inn and sexually assaulted her, according to documents.

In both cases, after the victims had gotten into his vehicle, Johnston asked if they wanted to make some money and roughed them up, according to documents. Johnston, a married father of four children, had been convicted in 2011 of soliciting a prostitute in Pierce County, according to documents.

At Monday’s court hearing, Johnston pleaded guilty to the lesser charges while standing before Hirsch in an orange jumpsuit and shackles. Hirsch said the sentencing could range from 89 to 114 months, and that Johnston would need to register as a sex offender.

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