Former top aide to Maryland governor dead after manhunt
Apr 3, 2023, 6:35 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2023, 8:56 am
BALTIMORE (AP) — A one-time chief of staff for former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan died Monday after being shot when FBI agents confronted him in a manhunt launched when he failed to show up for trial on corruption charges, his lawyer said.
Attorney Joseph Murtha said the FBI confirmed Roy McGrath’s death to him. He added that it was not immediately clear if McGrath’s wound was self-inflicted or came during an exchange of gunfire with agents.
William Brennan, an attorney for McGrath’s wife, Laura Bruner, also confirmed the death and said she was “absolutely distraught.”
According to an earlier email from FBI Supervisory Special Agent Shayne Buchwald in Maryland, McGrath was wounded during “an agent-involved shooting” about 6:30 p.m. in a commercial area on the southwestern outskirts of Knoxville, Tennessee. Buchwald said McGrath was taken to a hospital but did not elaborate.
Further details, including how McGrath was wounded and what led up to it, were not immediately released. The shooting was under investigation.
“The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” said Buchwald, who declined to confirm that McGrath had died.
McGrath, 53, was declared a wanted fugitive after his disappearance, and the FBI said he was considered an international flight risk.
In a statement, Hogan said he and his wife, Yumi, “are deeply saddened by this tragic situation. We are praying for Mr. McGrath’s family and loved ones.”
Murtha called the death “a tragic ending to the past three weeks of uncertainty” and said his client always maintained his innocence.
After McGrath failed to appear at Baltimore’s federal courthouse on March 13, Murtha said he believed McGrath, who had moved to Naples, Florida, was planning to fly to Maryland the night before. Instead of beginning jury selection, a judge issued an arrest warrant and dismissed prospective jurors.
McGrath was indicted in 2021 on accusations that he fraudulently secured a $233,648 severance payment, equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service, by falsely telling the agency’s board the governor had approved it. He was also accused of fraud and embezzlement connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses. McGrath pleaded not guilty.
McGrath resigned just 11 weeks into the job as Hogan’s chief of staff in 2020 after the payments became public.
If convicted of the federal charges, he would have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years for each of four counts of wire fraud, plus a maximum of 10 years for each of two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.
___ Brumfield reported from Silver Spring, Maryland. Associated Press writer Brian Witte in Annapolis contributed to this report.