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'Top Gun' sicko guilty in '96 rapes

Jun 13, 2006 | New York Daily News

The shameless thug who raped "Top Gun" actress Kelly McGillis more than two decades ago was convicted yesterday of raping two other women in their Greenwich Village apartment.

Ex-con Leroy Johnson, 39, showed no emotion as the jury found him guilty of the shocking 1996 attack, which prosecutors solved after linking his DNA to genetic evidence.

The two victims wept and clapped their hands when the jury foreman read the verdict, which could send Johnson to prison for 50 years.

One juror, who refused to give his name, said the genetic evidence convinced the panel that Johnson was guilty.

The former roommates testified that Johnson was the man who forced his way into their apartment on Waverly Place on Nov. 18, 1996. He tied the women up and raped them at knifepoint - after taunting them with claims they would enjoy the attack.

Johnson was only 15 when he and a pal raped McGillis, then a young Juilliard student, at knifepoint in her apartment in 1982. The predators threatened to kill her, bombarding her with racial slurs before fleeing after someone called the police.

McGillis, who went on to star in "Top Gun," "Witness," and "The Accused," identified the rapists from mug shots. "I wanted those guys caught," she said later. "I wanted to hurt them as much as they hurt me."

After serving three years in prison for the McGillis rape, Johnson was convicted of threatening to kill former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Yesterday's conviction led Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau to renew his call for expanding the state's DNA database and abolishing the statute of limitations on rape.

"The Leroy Johnson case shows the power of DNA in solving cases," Morgenthau said. "It shows that rapists commit a lot of other crimes."

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