LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – An inmate housed at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, who tested positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital, has passed away.
News 2 has confirmed through multiple sources that the 67-year-old man was Ronnie Johnson.
Johnson was dubbed the “Southside Rapist” after several women came forward in the early 1980s to report being violently attacked in Lebanon. Lindsey Neal knew him by a different name, brother.
Neal spent Tuesday morning at Neuble Funeral Home in Lebanon making arrangements for Johnson. “It hurt me. Broke my heart like it’s broken now to have to do this,” she said.
Johnson was an inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center which was hit hard by COVID-19.
He was convicted of aggravated rape in 1982 and served 34 years in prison, before being granted parole in 2016. Johnson returned to prison two years later after violating terms of his parole, but according to Neal, he was set to be released to a halfway house.
TDOC confirms an inmate was transported to the hospital on April 25 and died Monday morning.
Neal says that was Johnson who she saw on Facetime for the final time Sunday. “He was in Sumner Regional Hospital on a respirator and couldn’t even talk. He was in a coma.”
She says she was never notified her brother was even sick. When news of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center broke, Neal worried about him. She tried for three days to get a hold of someone at the prison and someone finally returned her call Sunday.
“It was the Chaplin, and he said I have sad news for you, that your brother was dying. I knew nothing about it.”
Neal wants to know why she, or others in her family, wasn’t notified. She did receive a phone call Monday to say her brother had died but claims no one ever answered her questions as to why she, as Johnson’s emergency contact, was never notified when he was transported to the hospital.
Neal has a message for other families who are also experiencing the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. “It’s not only him. There’s a whole lot more and my heart goes out to every mother, sister, brother that has family members going this way.”
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )
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