Inmate makes court appearance in Stillwater prison officer’s killing
Stillwater prison inmate Edward M. Johson appeared in Washington County District Court Friday morning to face new charges in the July 18 murder of corrections officer Joseph Gomm.
Following a grand jury indictment earlier this week, Johnson is now charged with first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree murder of a corrections officer.
Johnson was moved to the more restrictive Oak Park Heights prison after the killing of Gomm.
Gomm, 45, of Blaine, was bludgeoned with a hammer and stabbed in the industrial building at Stillwater prison. He suffered head injuries and chest wounds, according to the initial charges.
Johnson has a long history of violence. At the time of Gomms death, Johnson was serving a 29-year term for fatally stabbing his 22-year-old roommate, Brooke Thompson, in Bloomington in 2002.
Later that year, while in the Hennepin County jail during his trial, Johnson assaulted a deputy and pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault.
He was to have been released from prison in late 2022 and serve the balance of his term on supervised release. However, a first-degree murder conviction would keep Johnson in prison for life without the possibility of parole.
In prison he has racked up at least 1,695 days in segregation for numerous offenses, including 540 days in connection with a prison fight in July 2004, authorities said.
Johnson was most recently sentenced to segregation in June 2016. Since then, he had demonstrated relatively good behavior and been allowed to work in the prison industrial building, said Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy.
The enhanced charges come in the same week that two others serving long sentences at Oak Park Heights were charged in Washington County with felonies in connection with violent attacks on corrections officers.
Mara Klecker 612-673-4440