Local News

Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting Trooper

Posted March 9, 2007 11:43 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2007 3:45 p.m. EST

— 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.