Public Safety

Cedar Rapids woman says naked neighbor forced his way into her apartment

Neal Johnson is charged with second-degree burglary

CEDAR RAPIDS — A woman testified Monday that Neal Johnson, on trial this week for burglary, was the man who wasn’t wearing any pants when he came to her door Dec. 2, 2017, and pushed his way inside after making a graphic sexual comment.

Stephanie Mohr, 65, said she left the door at her northwest quadrant apartment unlocked for friend in her building who was going to come over. But instead, Johnson, whom she knew as “Bo” who also lived there, knocked at her door and was mumbling something.

She opened her door to ask what he wanted and he then started pushing on the door. She pushed back, trying to keep him out, Mohr said.

Johnson, 53, charged with second-degree burglary, is accused of forcing his way into Mohr’s apartment with the intent to commit assault. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

The prosecution rested Monday afternoon and the defense will start its case Tuesday in Linn County District Court.

Mohr, who suffers from chronic back pain, testified once Johnson got inside the doorway, she started screaming, knowing she couldn’t stop him. Johnson pushed his way in a couple feet past the threshold, she said.

He was wearing a hat and T-shirt, and she didn’t initially notice he was naked from the waist down.

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After she started screaming for help, Johnson ran off, Mohr said. She didn’t know why he came to her door.

She initially didn’t call police until her friend told her she should. Mohr also said she decided to report the incident because her daughter and granddaughters visit and she was worried Johnson might do something when they were around.

Deborah Osborn, 56, Mohr’s neighbor who lives in 303, said she had been in her apartment watching television, which is beside one of windows that face the hallway or walkway. She heard someone “yelling or screaming” but couldn’t make out what the person was saying and didn’t know it was Mohr.

She then saw Johnson coming from the direction of Mohr’s apartment and he wasn’t wearing pants.

Osborn said she opened her door and told him to put some clothes on. Johnson turned to look at her but kept going toward his apartment, she said.

Assistant Jordan Schier asked Osborn about a police report that said she told an officer she was lying down and didn’t see anything. Osborn said she didn’t know why it said that.

Cedar Rapids police officer Zach Jeffries said Johnson didn’t immediately answer the door when officers arrived. He knocked for five or 10 minutes before Savannah Rote, Johnson’s girlfriend, came to the door.

After he went inside, Johnson came out of the bathroom, wearing pants and no shirt. He appeared to be “wet” from sweat or from the shower.

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Johnson then told Jeffries and another officer that he needed to make some phone calls and wanted privacy. The officers went in and out of his apartment several times for him to make those calls. At one point, Johnson locked them out and wouldn’t open the door.

Brian Johnson, Johnson’s lawyer, said the prosecution lacks evidence to prove the charge, and both Mohr and Osborn told police “inconsistent or different stories,” he said.

Johnson has similar previous convictions of indecent exposure, assault and harassment, according to court documents.

• Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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