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Investigator testifies regarding rape cold case
Mans charges move on to Superior Court
Gainesville Police Investigator Stephen Johnson gives testimony Monday morning in Hall County Magistrate Court during a committal hearing for Jerald Henry Bryant Jr. on rape and synthetic marijuana possession charges.

A Gainesville Police investigator testified Monday about finding a cold case rape suspect through a separate drug investigation.

Jerald Henry Bryant Jr., 30, of Gainesville, appeared in Magistrate Court on Monday to answer to charges of synthetic marijuana possession and rape.

John Higginbotham from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office testified first about a search warrant executed at an Atlanta Street apartment by the Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad. Agents discovered a bag of what appeared to be and field-tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

Gainesville Police investigator Stephen Johnson followed with testimony about a rape report in March 2015, meeting the victim at Northeast Georgia Medical Center while a sexual assault nurse examiner examination was taking place.

The exam was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Johnson received reports back in January about a match with the Combined DNA Index System database.

“The DNA collection that was taken from (the victim’s sexual assault nurse examiner) exam … matched the DNA that was on file on the federal database to Mr. Bryant,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the victim reported the rape occurred at the Motel 6 on Monroe Drive. The victim told authorities she had checked in the night before and that a friend was going to help her get a local job.

“She said that she took a really hot shower that caused the room to steam up, and she left the door cracked open when she got out of the shower to get some of the steam out,” Johnson said.

After the shower, the victim told Johnson that a black male entered the room and raped her.

“She just stated that he forced himself into the room, that he acted as if he were in some form of rage,” the investigator said.

Bryant denied the allegations when questioned by Johnson.

“He stated that he had hung out at the Motel 6 before, but he was usually with friends,” Johnson said.

Bryant’s attorney Dan Sammons questioned Johnson on the preservation of evidence and witnesses interviewed. Johnson said there were no other witnesses around.

Both charges moved on to Superior Court.

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