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Son testifies in trial of man accused of rape, murder

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012, at 7:53 p.m.

A brother and sister who joined some friends in a two-day party at an apartment house in the 600 block of North Topeka both passed out from drinking too much and became victims of violent crimes, a Sedgwick County jury was told on Tuesday.

The sister was beaten and raped, prosecutors said. The brother, Josh Northcutt, was murdered.

The son of the man accused of both crimes told the jury that he found his father naked and covered with blood on the morning of March 27, 2011, when he found Northcutt’s body in the apartment he shared with his father.

“I don’t remember which I seen first, my dad with blood on him or Josh on the floor,” Cody Johnson testified.

“What condition was Josh in?” prosecutor Justin Edwards asked.

“His eyes were open; he wasn’t moving,” Johnson said. “There was a pool of blood by his head. … He was staring toward the door. He wasn’t blinking or moving. There was no life in his eyes.”

The father, Clyde Johnson, 50, is on trial this week for rape and second-degree murder. Wichita police said he beat both victims with a 24-inch machine bolt that Cody Johnson said he made as a makeshift weapon as a joke.

Northcutt’s sister told the jury that she met Cody Johnson at the Lord’s Diner several months before the attack. She said she and her brother stopped by Johnson’s apartment on the night before her brother was killed and ended up spending the night.

The group started drinking again the following day, the sister said, alternating between Cody Johnson’s first-floor apartment and another apartment upstairs.

Cody Johnson said the group was upstairs when they ran out of alcohol. He said he walked to a nearby liquor store and returned to find Northcutt and his sister sick from drinking too much. He said he laid Josh Northcutt on the floor by his fireplace and put Northcutt’s sister on his bed, then went back upstairs to rejoin the party.

Cody Johnson said that when he realized that his father was no longer with the group, he went downstairs to check on him. He said the door was locked and his father refused to let him in.

Cody Johnson said he eventually managed to get inside after asking his father to retrieve his cellphone. He said that’s when he saw Northcutt’s body.

“When I seen that I started to freak out,” he said.

He said he grabbed a frying pan to protect himself from his father, who still had the bolt, and started kicking on his neighbors’ doors.

“I told ’em to call the cops, that there were dead people in my apartment,” he said.

The trial resumes Wednesday in the courtroom of District Judge Terry Pullman.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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