Sheriff: Brothers beat, sexually assault and kill drug dealer

- Three brothers, their father and a family friend are in jail, accused of beating, sexually assaulting and killing a known Polk County drug dealer, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

Anthony, Brian and Nathan Johnson, along with friend Michael Gunn, are charged with first-degree murder. The Johnson brothers' father, Brian Johnson Sr., faces an accessory to murder charge for allegedly helping the boys dispose of the body.

According to investigators the violence took place in January at a home in Lakeland, where the suspects lived.

Sheriff Judd said the men were taking revenge for a woman who said the murder victim, Robert Banks, sexually assaulted her while the two were getting high on meth. 

"They kicked him. They strangled him with an electric cord. They beat him with a pipe. They beat him with their fists. They beat him with sticks," Sheriff Judd said.

Banks was also sexually assaulted, according to Judd.

After Banks was dead, detectives say the men burned his body. Detectives say that's when Brian Johnson Sr., the father of three of the suspects, dumped Banks' body in the Green Swamp in Sumter County, where it was found by a couple in a Jeep. 

Judd pointed out a possible irony in the incident, noting the men became enraged because their friend said she had been taken advantage of sexually.

"And quite frankly, we're not convinced, beyond the exclusion of an investigation, that there was ever was a sexual battery to begin with," Judd added.

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