02/23/06 — Bonds for suspects in kidnap, stabbing raised to $1 million

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Bonds for suspects in kidnap, stabbing raised to $1 million

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 23, 2006 1:53 PM

The secured bonds for two men accused of battering and stabbing another man and leaving him to die in the Little River have been increased to $1 million.

Tommy Hase Johnston, 30, of Seneca Court, LaGrange, and Larry Stevenson Brown, 31, of Stevens Mill Road were charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the Feb. 7 case.

Four hours after he was left in the river at 3:30 a.m., the victim, Shawn Foreman, 23, of Pony Drive, Pikeville, was rescued. He was rushed to Wayne Memorial Hospital and then transferred to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill because of the severity of his injuries.

Tommy Hase Johnston


Larry Stevenson Brown


Foreman has been removed from a ventilator and has had plastic surgery at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill to repair extensive damage to his face.

Clifton Foreman, the victim's father, testified Wednesday in a Wayne County District Court hearing that he did not recognize his son at Wayne Memorial Hospital. He said his son might suffer permanent vision and brain damage. He said his son's speech was slurred and his vision was so blurred that he was seeing three of everything.

The father said the bond for Brown ought to be "$5 billion. What they did was heinous and cowardly. I hope your life is miserable for the rest of your life."

Johnston had been placed in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond. Brown's family had posted a $50,000 bond, and he had been released from custody.Assistant District Attorney Jan Kroboth argued in the hearings that "there was no reason for the disparity of the bonds." She said both men were equally culpable and added that the two men were planning to leave the state.

Lawyer Robert M. Smith of Goldsboro argued against a higher bond in Monday's hearing.

But Judge Les Turner of Pink Hill agreed with the prosecution and doubled Johnston's bond.

Brown did not testify Wednesday. He appeared in court on crutches because of a leg injury.

Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Shawn Harris laid out some of the state's case. He said a 911 caller had identified the suspects' car, and it was found on Holland Hills Drive. He got information that a man had been rolled up in a blanket, put in the car trunk and disposed of off Capps Bridge Road. Other deputies and officers went to the bridge and found Foreman "bobbing like a cork," hanging onto a log at about 7:30 a.m. The bloody blanket and a knife were recovered.

Harris, who did not go to the river, said Foreman had very substantial injuries, a low temperature and multiple stab wounds. The detective said the defendants and Foreman had partied together the night before and later Brown and Foreman argued and fought.

Brown's lawyer, John Gomulka of Goldsboro, argued that his client's bond should not be revoked because there was no change in the circumstances in the case and the victim had improved. He said it was not an attempted murder case, but instead an aggravated assault. He said Brown could have fled but did not. If anything, Gomulka said, Brown could wear an electronic monitoring device.

Judge Williams disagreed, sided with the state and increased Brown's bond.