Man goes on naked rampage, dies in jail

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January 22, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Investigators are still waiting for autopsy results are for a Statesboro man accused of terrorizing a south Augusta neighborhood, naked.

The GBI says erratic violence like this can be the toughest to get under control, and very dangerous for the people who live here.

"It's wild," laughed Mary Mock, who saw the naked man run past her house. "It's unbelievable, really!"

She never expected this kind of violence in her neighborhood. And she never expected it to come from somebody who wasn't wearing any clothes.

Witnesses say they heard strange noises coming from a nearby ditch. Then they say they saw Johnson crawling around making growling sounds.

Then neighbors say he stripped down, attacked a man at a nearby business, ran to Stevens Road where he hit someone else with a toolbox, and then smashed a windshield with his head...all while he was naked.

GBI agent Gary Nicholson says drugs are a likely cause.

"Obviously drugs are suspected because they definitely would cause this erratic behavior."

He says erratic violence can be the most dangerous because suspects often don't feel the same degree of pain, meaning they're harder to control.

"I have personal experience dealing with similar situations, and it's one of the worst things you can deal with," Agent Nicholson said.

In this case, five deputies combined forces to handcuff Johnson, right in the middle of the usually quiet neighborhood.

"I ain't going to look out," Mock said. "I'll just keep my doors locked so they can't come in."

That sort of precaution may be more common along this street after such an uncommon afternoon.

Johnson died shortly after the arrest. We're still waiting for toxicology results which can tell us more about the specific cause of his death.

This was handled by the Richmond County Sheriff's Department, and he died in their custody, which is why the GBI is taking over.

The entire situation is still under investigation, and the GBI will turn it over to the DA's office once they're done.