DAWSON, GA (WALB) - Testimony begins in the state's case against a Dawson man accused of molesting two children. The defendant's wife and girlfriend are also implicated and expected to testify against him.
The state says evidence proves 51-year-old Milton Johnson is a so-called sexual deviant, but the defense says there is no physical evidence proving his "swinging lifestyle" translated into molesting children.
"The picture painted by the state is dark and brooding, but it is incomplete," said Defense Attorney Johnnie Graham.
The most difficult testimony to hear Tuesday was from the children's grandmother. The grandmother of the both children whose identity we want to protect, in order to shield the victims, told jurors her granddaughter confessed on a quiet drive to church.
"She said 'Grandma, I want to tell you something but I am scared. If I do you might get mad at me.'"
Pataula Assistant District Attorney Ron Smith says Milton Johnson treated the female victim as his "sexual trophy."
The state's first witness, Debra Battle, told jurors she saw sexually explicit text messages between the then 12-year-old female victim and Milton Johnson at a child's birthday party in March 2012, that another child at the party found.
"Assuming they were 12 years old. She opened the cell phone up and she saw a text message that Milton had sent," Battle said.
The text message invited another young boy celebrating at the party to participate in a sexual relationship with Johnson. "She read it, she took it to her mama," Battle said.
Battle says she contacted 35-year-old Takeya Johnson, the live-in girlfriend of Milton Johnson, to tell her about the text messages, and then she called the Sheriff's Office when she said Takeya Johnson didn't seem concerned about the text messages.
Terrell County Deputy Richard Kilbry says Takeya Johnson and Milton Johnson told him the sexual text messages were not meant for the child.
He was asked "And that the text messages were actually meant to go to the mother. Did you ask to see that phone?
"Yes," said deputy.
Did you read the text messages on the phone? Asked the D.A.
"They were already deleted," said Kilbry.
There are 35 people on the witness list, and the trial is expected to continue this week.