PORT ANGELES — A 27-year-old Port Angeles man who was charged with kidnapping and raping a woman at knifepoint over the summer pleaded guilty Monday to indecent liberties and second-degree kidnapping.
Maxx Edward Johnson accepted a plea deal and is facing a sentencing range of 21 to 27 months for the indecent liberties charge and 12 to 14 months for the kidnapping charge and up to 36 months in community custody.
“The victim has been waiting for quite some time for something to happen because we have been in the limbo of mental health,” said Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin.
He was originally charged with first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping.
Johnson will be sentenced May 23 at 9 a.m.
In Johnson’s guilty plea statement, he wrote that he does not admit guilt, though there is enough evidence to support a finding of guilt and that he wanted to take advantage of a plea offer.
Devlin said she feels “really good” about the case’s conclusion and that Johnson is “being held accountable for his actions.”
He will be required to register as a sex offender and has to complete a sex offender evaluation.
The deal was reached through discussions with the victim and by weighing the strength of the evidence against Johnson, she said.
Throughout the past several months, there have been three reports regarding Johnson’s capacity to understand the nature of the court proceedings and assist in his own defense.
Two reports from Western State Hospital said Johnson has the capacity to assist in his own defense and understand court proceedings while a report from the state Department of Social and Health Services said he didn’t have the capacity to assist in his own defense.
After his first examination at Western, Johnson told his attorney, Harry Gasnick, he has experienced auditory delusions and hallucinations and has a history of untreated mental health issues, according to records filed Oct. 18, 2016.
Johnson had concealed that information during the previous Western State Hospital evaluation “due to his fear of and misunderstanding of the purpose of a competence evaluation,” records say.
On June 11, 2016, a woman reported to Port Angeles police that a man kidnapped her at knifepoint near Fifth and Laurel streets and forced her to accompany him to several areas south of downtown before taking her to an abandoned building west of downtown where he sexually assaulted her, police said.
The victim told police she was walking near the alley behind Safeway on South Lincoln Street when an unknown man approached her from behind and held a knife to her throat, according to the probable-cause statement for his arrest.
The woman told police the man, whom she didn’t know, repeatedly said the name “Max” and said he was 26 years old.
The man then took the woman to various places surrounding downtown, including the beach in the west side of Estuary Park, before he took her to an abandoned house on West Second Street, court records say.
The woman told police the man forcibly had sex with her at the house.
She was able to escape after the man “passed out,” she told police. She then went to Olympic Medical Center, where she made the report and a sexual assault examination kit was completed.
After Port Angeles police issued a news release the same day, police received a call saying that Johnson matched the description that was provided, the police report says.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.