Local News

Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting Trooper

Posted March 9, 2007

— A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to shooting a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper during a traffic stop in November 2005.

Marvin Bell Johnson, 41, pleaded guilty to attempted murder for the attack in which Trooper J.C. Horniak was shot five times. Johnson was sentenced to serve at least 20 years, 11 months in prison, and the sentence will begin after he finishes a 10-year sentence he already is serving on a weapons charge stemming from the incident.

Horniak, nearly a six-year veteran, was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he stopped a vehicle in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Cumberland County on Nov. 28, 2005, authorities said. Horniak was stopping the car after noticing the license tag was halfway detached and in danger of falling off the vehicle, authorities said.

As Horniak approached Johnson, shots were fired and Horniak was hit at least five times in the chest, authorities said. Authorities credited the bullet-proof vest with saving his life.

Johnson, who previously served time for second-degree murder and still faces a murder charge in Virginia, was arrested a short time later at a nearby motel.

Horniak, 31, returned to duty last November.


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  • Lulli Mar 12, 2007

    NOT ENOUGH TIME! We should show our troopers more honor than that! What if the trooper had not been wearing the vest? This should have been a life sentence without parole! This should be an automatic sentence for anyone showing malice to our uniformed people!

  • anneonymousone Mar 12, 2007

    I am liberal, usually vote Democratic, and think the man should spend life in prison for his combined crimes. I am not sure why at least one person here claims that my political inclinations mean that I want state troopers dead.

    I would like to see more of what is called "restorative justice," in which imprisoned people are employed in such a way that their work helps people and communities in need. Imagine if their work (which could not be done in such a way as to threaten private enterprise) were to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and clothe the cold?

  • nc_copper1993 Mar 11, 2007

    Ash - just for informational purposes N.C. was under the "fair sentence act" where a convict would get 2 days credit for each day served as long as they didnt recieve any disciplinary actions against them called "good time"if they worked in the prison they could earn another day "gain time" so they could get 3 off for each day served. this has not been the case since the mid 90's, thankfully. we are now under the "truth in sentencing Act"

  • Lizard Paw Mar 10, 2007

    Katmama - boy i can tell you really pay attnetion to the stance of the political parties!!??

  • SOCLOSE Mar 10, 2007

    Why attack Libs/Dems on this matter. Even if convicts are allowed to vote, you don't know if they will vote Rep/Dem/or Lib. Giving them the right to vote could help Reps just as much as any other party. We don't know, we just assume. And we all know what (ass)uming does to a person.

  • hefty-lefty Mar 10, 2007

    Doesn't this man at least deserve a good set of golf clubs??

  • Lulli Mar 10, 2007

    Any directive of this magnitude against law enforcement should carry a life sentence. Law enforcement officers are out there doing a thankless job to protect the rest of us. Anyone showing disrespect towards them deserves the maximum punishment. THIS would be a deterrent that would surely get the public's attention. I'm sure these thugs would think twice before pulling a weapon on these people! We NEED TOUGHER LAWS & they need to be implemented & enforced!

  • mohnkae Mar 10, 2007

    Snake, I am on the right side... American. As to the restoration of voting rights for felons, I think Libby would be far more likely to use it than this thug;-) Sorry if I sounded thin-skinned earlier, I just saw a lot of unwarranted sniping at Libs/Dems and figured someone should stand up for them. besides what fun is a one sided debate?

  • Lizard Paw Mar 10, 2007

    mohnkae - do you realize the suspect in this case will probably vote for the same guy as you if the dems are successful in getting the right to vote bestowed upon convicted felons? Doesn't that make you at least pause to try to determine if you're on the right side?

  • slappyh99 Mar 9, 2007

    Well snake, & pistolla looks like we must have struck a nerve with mohnkae.