Ronnie Johnson - TDOC mug shot

Ronnie Johnson (Photo: Tennessee Department of Correction)


NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - News4 has learned the inmate who has died at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility was a convicted rapist from Wilson County.

Ronnie Johnson, 67, was nicknamed the Southside Rapist after several women came forward to report attacks, which all occurred on the southside of Lebanon.

The Tennessee Department of Correction said in a news release an inmate was taken from the facility on April 25. The inmate later tested positive for COVID-19. The inmate died early Monday morning, according to the news release. 

Johnson is believed to be responsible for a string of 10 reported rape incidents which occurred on the south side of Lebanon beginning in 1979. He was sentenced to life in prison, plus four years, after being tried and convicted in one of the rape cases in 1982.

Johnson was paroled from the prison system in 2016 but was returned to custody for violation of probation.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine if he died from COVID-19.

Almost 2,000 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Currently six prisoners who have tested positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized. One of those patients is in critical condition.

The Department of Correction announced on Friday that it would conduct another round of mass testing of all inmates and staff at TDOC prisons. CoreCivic, which operates four state prisons, will also conduct mass testing for staff and inmates at the facilities it operates.

Testing for staff began Monday at Middle Tennessee facilities and will continue throughout the state this week.

LocationNumber TestedNumber PositiveNumber NegativePending
Bledsoe County Correctional Complex2,3165851,7310
Morgan County Correctional Complex0000
Northeast Correctional Complex1010
Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility5050
Riverbend Maximum Security Institution2110
Tennessee Prison for Woman5050
Turney Center Industrial Complex275382370
Turney Center Industrial Complex-Annex382360
Mart Luttrell Transition Center3120
Northwest Correctional Complex881458360
West Tennessee State Penitentiary1010
Women's Therapeutic Residential Center2020
Contract & Private Managed prisons
Hardeman County Correctional Facility4130
South Central Correctional Facility2020
Trousdale Turner Correctional Center2,3711,2841,0870
Whiteville Correctional Facility2020

Related coverage

Over 1,200 staff, inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center
Almost 750 state prisoners test positive for COVID-19
576 state prisoners test positive for COVID-19 at Bledsoe facility

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