Cumberland Times-News

Local News

October 4, 2013

WCI inmate convicted in escape attempt

OAKLAND — A Western Correctional Institution inmate was found guilty of numerous charges Thursday in Garrett County Circuit Court following a two-day jury trial.  

Charges against Larry Jerome Johnson, 38, included two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of armed carjacking and a count of first-degree escape. The remaining charges were not considered as they all merged into the charges of which he was found guilty, according to Garrett County State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch.

Johnson, who was assigned to a road crew mowing along Interstate 68 near Grantsville, was arrested by Maryland State Police in September 2012 following a 13-mile chase along southbound state Route 495.

Johnson used prison-issued work crew pliers to attack and wound Correctional Officer Robert E. Goss Sr., 47, who was supervising the crew, and then took control of the Maryland Division of Correction van. The officer continued to attempt to take Johnson back into custody until the equipment trailer jack-knifed.

During the altercation, the officer suffered a number of lacerations to his head and a stab wound to his chest that narrowly missed his heart and lung.

 Johnson then flagged down passing motorist Alan M. Gnegy, 22, of Morgantown, W.Va., who was on his way to work and exiting onto Route 495. Johnson stabbed Gnegy in the temple and pulled him from his car, then drove away but was soon located by troopers who were alerted following 911 calls by the officer and another passing motorist.  

Johnson was arrested when he wrecked the stolen vehicle by striking a tree after he drove into the Sky Valley and Thousand Acres developments.

Both victims were transported to Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland.

Following the verdict, Judge Jim Sherbin ordered a presentence investigation report be completed.

For the attempted murder charges, Johnson faces possible life sentences. He is now housed at Jessup Correctional Institution.

Johnson was reportedly nearing the end of a 20-year prison sentence for carjacking and other crimes when the incident occurred. He had been a member of the work crew for several months up to the time of the attack on the correctional officer and passing motorist.

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