Laurel Man Pleads Guilty to Failed Carjacking of Pastor's SUV

Prosecutors said the victim managed to wrestle the gun away and fire a warning shot into the ground.

A Laurel man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from the carjacking of a local pastor's SUV, according to the Howard County State's Attorney's Office.

James Holmead Johnson, 27, of the 9800 block of Robinson Blvd., admitted to attempted armed carjacking and use of a handgun in the commission of a violent crime, prosecutors said.

According to a statement from the state's attorney's office, Johnston asked the pastor of the Action Worship Center (9805 Lyon Ave., North Laurel) for a ride on the rainy evening of Aug. 20, 2012.

During the ride, prosecutors said Johnston brandished a .38 caliber revolver, demanded $300, and ordered the pastor out of his vehicle.

As Johnston climbed into the driver's seat, the pastor "seized the opportunity and struggled with Johnston to gain control of the gun," according to the statement.

"When Johnston approached the victim, 'begging' for the return of his gun, the pastor discharged the weapon into the ground, forcing the assailant to retreat," prosecutors wrote.

Johnston was arrested at an Owings Mills drug treatment facility on Sept. 13 based on the pastor's identification of the suspect from a police photo array.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Furlong, Johnston admitted to the attempted carjacking under questioning and wrote an apology letter to the pastor.

After Tuedsay's plea, Howard County Circuit Court Judge William V. Tucker revoked Johnston’s bond and set a July 26 sentencing date.

The state is recommending 16 years in prison for the attempting carjacking charged and five years—serve concurrently—for the gun charge, prosecutors said.

Money March 02, 2013 at 10:29 PM
So the pastor saved himself. Good on him. We need stiff sentences for gun crimes.


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