A local man was arrested for violently raping and beating a Tavernier woman on March 13th. He is accused of grabbing her as she walked on a street near her home, dragging her into the bushes, beating her with some type of blunt object, threatening to kill her and then raping her.
The attack took place just after 9 p.m. on the southbound side of highway U.S. One, east of the Tavernier Creek Bridge. The victim was on her way to meet friends at a neighborhood bar. She said at first, she thought it was her friends playing a joke on her when someone grabbed her. She then realized she did not know the man who had grabbed her.
The victim fought her attacker and he began to hit her with some kind of weapon she could not identify. 53 year old Johnny Lee Hayes told her he would kill her, but would let her live if she stopped fighting. She said he choked her as well and she lost consciousness for a period of time. When she woke up, he was still on top of her raping her and hitting her. She said during the attack, Hayes told her she’d done this to six other women and had been to prison.
After the rape, he took her money, told her to wait 15 minutes and that he would be watching her. She tried to wave people down for help, but no one would stop. She walked to a nearby business where an employee called for help.
The victim was taken to the hospital where she was treated for her extensive injuries, including broken ribs, a broken bone in her face and numerous contusions. DNA believed to be from the suspect was collected and sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for possible identification. FDLE identified the DNA as belonging to Hayes, who has an extensive arrest history.
Detective Manny Cuervo was assigned as lead investigator on the case.
Detective Cuervo obtained a warrant for Hayes’ arrest and on Monday night, Hayes was located on Aviation Boulevard in Marathon just before 9 p.m. and he was arrested. He was charged with forcible sexual battery with a weapon, a life felony; He was also charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and robbery with a weapon. He was booked into jail. Total bond on the charges is $525,000.
Hayes has been incarcerated in the Monroe County jail many times over the past two decades on charges which include arrests for drug trafficking, sales and possession, robbery, tampering with a witness, escape, burglary, driving with a suspended license, and violating probation. He has had various addresses during that time, including on Stock Island, Big Pine Key, Marathon and Miami.