Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (May 16) secured a first-degree rape indictment against an Arkansas man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a New Orleans hotel in March.
Yohon Vernon, 44, faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence if convicted of the charge.
Vernon was arrested on March 2, 2019, the same day a 23-year-old woman reported to New Orleans police that she had been raped by him inside her Central Business District hotel room.
Vernon initially was booked with second-degree rape by New Orleans police. But upon further investigation, prosecutors learned that Vernon employed a weapon — a sword sheathed inside a walking cane — during the attack. Presented with the more complete picture of events, the grand jury handed up the more severe charge of first-degree rape.
Criminal District Judge Camille Buras left unchanged Vernon’s $100,000 bond after the indictment was read.
Assistant District Attorney Alicia L. Bennette presented the case to the grand jury.
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