The man known to his terrified victims and Modesto police as the "Ninja Bandit" has been released on parole to Fresno County, officials said Wednesday.
Robert Angel Johnson, 49, served 21 years of a nearly 40-year sentence. He was released Oct. 28, according to parole officials. His parole is scheduled to last through October 2010.
Several of his victims reached for comment said they had not been informed of his release. Their names are not being used to protect their safety.
"I don't think he can track me down," said one woman. "We're not in the phone book. It does kind of take my breath away."
Johnson was convicted in 1986 of one count each of second-degree murder, sodomy with force, rape with a foreign object and receiving stolen property. He also was convicted of five counts of robbing an inhabited dwelling and three counts of burglary, according to the Department of Corrections.
Mental health experts assessed John-son during the last 45 days to determine whether he fit the classification of a sexually violent predator, which could have resulted in a civil commitment and treatment. Johnson did not meet the criteria, said Katie James, manager of the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. John-son was assessed twice during his incarceration and failed to meet the criteria both times.
"He's under as tight of a super-vision as it's possible to give him as a parolee," said Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Sessa.
Being monitored by GPS
Johnson has been classified as a high-control parolee and as a high-risk sex offender. "He's on GPS monitoring and he has about four pages of specific parole conditions that he has to comply with in order to stay out on parole."
Johnson was placed in Fresno out of concern for his Modesto-area victims, Sessa said. He must have daily contact with his parole agent. Sessa could not release other specifics of Johnson's parole but, in general, he said, people with Johnson's classification must obey curfews and are directed to have no contact with victims. Many of the conditions limit where he can go and what he can do. Other conditions could include mandatory counseling and polygraph testing.
Out of roughly 120,000 people on parole in the state each year, about 10,000 are sex offenders, Sessa said in October. Fewer than 2,500 fall into the high-risk sexual offender category.
Sessa called Johnson's level of supervision "very intense." John-son is one of 20 people his parole officer monitors. The typical caseload for an officer is 70 to 80 parolees.
While committing his crimes, Johnson often wore a black ninja hood and martial arts clothing and was armed with a gun, knife or both. Many of his victims testified that he thanked them for their cooperation as he left with their valuables.
After his release, Johnson was required to register on the Megan's law Web site. According to the site, he lives at Knights Inn, at 3093 N. Parkway Drive, though a desk clerk said Wednesday that no one named Johnson was listed on the ledger.
One of his victims said that despite Johnson's distance and parole conditions, she was uneasy about his release.
"I guess he's wearing the bracelet, so that gives us some measure of relief. But otherwise, you always feel like you're extra careful making sure things are locked. Any little noise, you get a little jumpy. You're going to be worried. Fresno is only an hour and a half away. It's not that far."
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.