STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — The man accused of killing Stillwater corrections officer Joseph Gomm appeared in Washington County court Friday morning.

A grand jury indicted Edward Johnson on first-degree premeditated murder charges following the death of Gomm on July 18. Johnson is accused of attacking Gomm with a hammer and a knife.

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He was behind bars for murder.

After the hearing, Gomm’s family spoke to reporters. WCCO’s John Lauritsen was there and has more on the message they have for Gomm’s co-workers.

“He missed out on a lot of family time because he wouldn’t go out in public.” Angela Wood said.

With their husbands by their sides, Officer Gomm’s sisters, Angela Wood and Audrey Cone talked about how their brother’s fear for his safety carried over to life away from work.

“He was scared. He was nervous. He told me every day he goes to work there’s a chance he won’t come home,” Audrey Cone, Gomm’s sister, said.

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Family attorney Mike Padden said that before he was killed, Gomm made his supervisors aware of his concerns.

“He was extremely worried about workplace safety of Stillwater and said this to his family and friends and I quote, ‘It’s going to take one of us to die before any changes become reality.’ We think that says a lot. In a sense, Joe was a sitting duck and he knew it,” Padden said.

Padden said that Johnson’s prior history of violence, that included an assault on an officer in 2002, should have prevented him from having access to tools that could be used as weapons. Gomm’s family says he continued to work at the Stillwater prison, knowing that his safety was on the line.

“I think he was proud of his work, proud of his job. He wanted to help people. He was a very large-hearted man and he would give the shirt off his back for anyone. He felt like he was needed and that’s why he stayed,” said Chris Cone, Gomm’s brother-in-law.

Gomm’s family said that justice in this case would be for this not to happen to any other guards. They ultimately want to see more staffing at the prison.

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Johnson will have a hearing on Nov. 2, and his trial should begin next spring.

John Lauritsen