FRONT ROYAL – A Front Royal man who tried to escape from the courtroom earlier this year pleaded guilty on Monday to escape by force and assault and battery.
Ray Martin Johnson, 35, pleaded guilty to both charges on Monday afternoon in Warren County Circuit Court.
In June, Johnson appeared in Warren County Circuit Court for a bond hearing on drug charges after the commonwealth’s attorney appealed a district court judge’s ruling that Johnson should receive bond. After Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. granted the prosecutor’s arrest, Johnson rushed out of the courtroom while guards were escorting him toward an exit.
On Monday, after Johnson plead guilty to escape by force and the assault and battery charge, prosecutors read some of the evidence they would have used in court if he had not entered a guilty plea.
Prosecutors explained Johnson ran into an Virginia state trooper not in uniform who was in the courtroom for another case.
After the trooper brought Johnson to the ground, the trooper hit his head and briefly lost consciousness, prosecutors said. A civilian in the courtroom grabbed Johnson around the legs and tried to hold him until officers detained him. Johnson was not wearing handcuffs when he fled.
The court sentenced Johnson to five years in a penitentiary for the escape and 12 months in jail for assault and battery. The court waived Johnson’s five-year sentence and lowered his charge from assaulting a law enforcement officer to assault and battery. Johnson will receive credit for time served but must complete the jail sentence.
Johnson will be on probation for two years as a condition of his five-year sentence being waived.
Johnson apologized to the court for his behavior but did not speak further.
Johnson will appear in court on Feb. 10, 2020 for the previous drug charges.