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Man pleads guilty to attempted armed carjacking of Laurel pastor

A Laurel man who unsuccessfully attempted to carjack a North Laurel pastor at gunpoint, after police say the pastor grabbed his gun, pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court on Tuesday, according to State's attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.

James Holmead Johnston, 27, of the 9800 block of Robinson Boulevard, pleaded guilty to armed carjacking and the use of a handgun in the commission of a crime, Kirwan said.

According to the charging documents, Johnston asked the pastor of a North Laurel church for a ride on Aug. 20, 2012. 

During the ride, Johnston brandished a .38-caliber revolver and demanded $300 from the pastor. As Johnston climbed into the driver's seat, the pastor struggled with him to gain control of the gun, Kirwan said.

When Johnston approached the pastor "begging" for the gun back, the pastor discarged the weapon into the ground, forcing Johnston to flea, Kirwan said.

The pastor was able to identify Johnston from a Howard County Police photo array.

On Sept. 13, Johnston was arrested at an Owings Mills drug treatment facility. During his interview with police, Johnston admitted to the attempted carjacking. 

Johntson, whose bond was revoked, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 26. Kirwan said the prosecution will seek a sentence of 16 years in prison.

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