Cumberland Times-News

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April 2, 2014

WCI inmate who stabbed guard, motorist gets two life sentences plus

2012 incident began along interstate in Garrett County

OAKLAND — A Maryland prison inmate was sentenced to two life sentences plus 60 years Tuesday in connection with the stabbing of a correctional officer and a passing motorist during an incident while he was working with an inmate crew in September 2012.

Larry Jerome Johnson, 39, was sentenced by Judge Jim Sherbin in Garrett County Circuit Court to two life sentences for attempted first-degree murder, to 20 years for one count of armed carjacking and to 10 years for first-degree escape.

All the sentences run consecutively, for a net effect of two life sentences plus 60 years in the Maryland Division of Correction, all to run consecutively to the sentence he is currently serving.

Johnson, who was jailed at the Jessup Correctional Institution prior to sentencing, was convicted in a jury trial in circuit court in October.

Johnson stabbed Western Correctional Institution correctional officer Robert Goss, 47, several times with needle nose pliers Sept. 4, 2012, at about 7:30 a.m. along Interstate 68 near exit 19, according to Maryland State Police.

Johnson was one of several inmates assigned to a road crew mowing along the interstate when he attacked the officer who was seated in the driver’s seat of the DOC van.

Goss, a 17-year veteran correctional officer, was stabbed repeatedly while fending off Johnson, who drove off in the prison van.

Johnson lost control of the van and the trailer attached to it before he flagged down a motorist who thought he needed help.

Johnson then assaulted the driver, 22-year-old Alan M. Gnegy of Morgantown, W.Va., by stabbing him in the head. Johnson then pulled Gnegy out of the vehicle and drove off.

The injured officer and another passing motorist called 911 to alert police to the incident.

A short time later, a Maryland state trooper located the stolen vehicle on state Route 495 near Bittinger. State police and deputies pursued Johnson for about 12 miles before he wrecked the vehicle and struck a tree. He was arrested without further incident.

Goss and Gnegy were hospitalized at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for several days as a result of the stabbings.

Goss reportedly sustained a number of lacerations to the head and a stab wound to the chest that narrowly missed his heart and lung.

At the trial, Dr. William May testified that the nature of the injuries to each victim created a substantial risk of death.

At the sentencing hearing, both victims took the stand to testify about the impact of these crimes to each of them.

Johnson had been serving a 20-year prison sentence at WCI on handgun and carjacking convictions in Prince George’s County in 2002 when the incident occurred.

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