Convicted rapist gets 45 years for stabbing woman during Wicker Park home invasion

CHICAGO — A convicted rapist has been sentenced to 45 years for invading a Wicker Park woman’s home with zip ties and stabbing her, a scenario that prosecutors said bore strong similarities to a 1998 sexual assault case that earned him a 30-year sentence.

Lester Johnson, 57, was found guilty of home invasion causing bodily injury and residential burglary earlier this year. His lawyer filed a motion for a new trial, which Judge William Gamboney denied this week before sentencing.

Johnson was already a six-time convicted felon in 1998 when, prosecutors said, he entered a 28-year-old Champaign County woman’s bedroom. He forced the woman to lie on her stomach, tied her hands behind her back, and sexually assaulted her.

Lester Johnson and surveillance images of the attacker that were released by Chicago police in 2018. | Chicago Police Department

Although he was sentenced to 30 years, Johnson was back on the streets by May 2018, when he followed a woman to her home in the 1300 block of North Bell, prosecutors alleged. The 24-year-old woman noticed that he was shadowing her, but she made it safely into her apartment building and went to bed.

Early the next morning, Johnson entered her bedroom, held a knife to her throat, and ordered her to lie on her stomach with her hands behind her back, prosecutors said.

But the woman fought back. Johnson stabbed her in the leg and slashed her hand, causing a deep cut.

Police found a package of zip ties in the woman’s bedroom and a bandana that prosecutors said contained Johnson’s DNA.

Gamboney sentenced him to 45 years for the home invasion charge and 15 concurrent years for residential burglary. The Illinois Department of Corrections has not published his anticipated parole date.

Before his 1998 sexual assault conviction, Johnson had already been sentenced to prison for ten years for residential burglary in 1993, 6 years for possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1991, four years for burglary in 1988, four years for theft in 1986, and four years for residential burglary in 1982, according to IDOC.

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