AUBURN — It took a month of sleuthing, but a man wanted on a Level 3 felony rape charge in DeKalb County has been arrested in Kentucky after nearly a year on the run.
Christopher F. Johnston, 30, was arrested by Kentucky State Trooper Mark Spencer at a residence in Thelma, Kentucky, late Friday afternoon.
Johnston is going through the extradition process so he can be brought to Indiana to face the charge, according to the Indiana State Police.
A no-bond warrant was issued for Johnston on the rape charge on Feb. 27, 2020, by DeKalb County Judge Monte Brown.
According to a police affidavit of probable cause filed in DeKalb Superior Court II, Indiana State Police Detective S. Michael Carroll said he was sent to Parkview Noble Hospital on Nov. 3, 2019, in regards to an alleged rape.
The alleged victim told Carroll that she was contacted earlier in the night by a man she knew as “Casper” or “Chris Caper.” The man was later found to be Christopher Forrest Johnston, the affidavit said.
The woman told Carroll she only knew Johnston through his work as a tattoo artist. The woman said she took Johnston to work once but had never had even a conversation about anything romantic between them, according to the affidavit.
Earlier in the evening, Johnston had contacted the woman via Facebook Messenger asking her to “hang out,” the affidavit said. He then asked the woman to come to a bar, later identified as Route 6 Bar in Butler, to pick him up. The woman told Johnston she would be his designated river, the affidavit said.
After she arrived at the bar, Johnston told the woman that he had been at the bar since 6 pm. the prior evening. The woman told Carroll she drank half of an alcoholic beverage . She said Johnston then got into a fight with a man at the bar, which “freaked (her) out,” the affidavit said.
Johnston invited the woman back to his house and she agreed because she wanted to leave the bar. At this time there was no talk of anything romantic or sexual and the woman was simply offering him a ride, the affidavit said.
The woman drove Johnston to his home at 622 Independence Street, Butler, and went inside the house to hang out with him, Carroll said in the affidavit. Once in the house, Johnston kissed the woman and it quickly turned aggressive. The woman alleged that Johnston started to take off her clothes and had his hand on her throat. The woman was saying “no” during the time, according to the affidavit. The woman told Carroll that Johnston had sex with her. She said she continued to say “no” but Johnston failed to stop, according to the affidavit.
The woman told Carroll she did not scratch, bite or kick Johnston during the incident. She was afraid of Johnston because of his size and telling her he was part of the “Outlaws” and him getting into a fight earlier in the night.
Carroll said the woman told him she said “no” several times and attempted to push Johnston off of her repeatedly.
Carroll said on Nov. 13, 2019, he went to 622 Independence Street in Butler in an attempt to locate Johnston. Once there, Carroll said, he was greeted by a woman who identified herself as Johnston’s cousin. She told Carroll that Johnston no longer lived there but confirmed he did live there on the night of the alleged incident.
Carroll said further investigation showed Johnston now lived with a friend at 118 E. Orange St. in Cromwell.
On Nov. 18, 2019, Carroll met with Johnston at the Cromwell address and Johnston agreed to talk about the allegations.
Carroll said Johnston told him he knew the alleged victim from the tattoo shop and that he had asked her to go out for a couple of drinks with him. Johnston said his recollection was that they stayed at the bar until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and then they went back to his house. He said he and the woman were lying in bed when “one thing led to another” and they “started doing everything.”
Johnston told Carroll there was no yelling, crying or forcing anything, the affidavit said.
Johnston said the woman messaged him the next day and said she did not want these things to happen and that “he was scary drunk,” according to the affidavit.
Johnston denied placing his hands around the woman’s throat, her pushing him away or saying “no” at any time, the affidavit said. Carroll said he believes the woman because she has no reason to lie.
“She has nothing to gain from telling law enforcement about this event,” Carroll said in the affidavit.
Carroll said the woman admitted she is very frightened of Johnston and what he or one of his family members may do to her in retaliation.
It is the woman’s understanding that Johnston has family members in the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and she witnessed him being violent on the night of the alleged incident, the affidavit said.
Carroll said Johnston was able to corroborate the woman’s story, although he gave different details when it came to who started the sexual acts. The woman has no past or current relationship with Johnston except possibly a business relationship of receiving a tattoo from him, Carroll said in the affidavit.
Carroll said he believes Johnston was intoxicated, possibly highly intoxicated, during the alleged event and that there is no evidence to suggest that the woman was intoxicated, based on independent witnesses.
Carroll asked Albion-based Trooper Brian Kreger and Trooper Joe McLaughlin to help locate Johnston approximately a month ago.
Kreger and McLaughlin knew Johnston went by the nickname “Casper,” and also that the fugitive fancied himself a tattoo artist.
Kreger discovered Johnston was advertising his services as a tattoo artist in the Mooresville, Tennessee, area. Local authorities in Tennessee were unable to set up a meet with Johnston, however, and Kreger continued his pursuit.
Kreger and McLaughlin eventually linked Johnston to a woman who lived in Thelma, Kentucky, and enlisted the aid of the Kentucky State Police to find Johnston at the woman’s residence.
Kreger praised the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb County Prosecutor’s Office and law enforcement officials in Tennessee and Kentucky with their assistance.
“It was a team effort,” Kreger said.