MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A trial date or a guilty plea — that’s what the family of a corrections officer killed in the line of duty say they expected when they walked into court Friday. Instead the defense wants the charge thrown out.

Edward Johnson appeared in Washington County courtroom, the former Stillwater prison inmate charged in the line of duty death of Officer Joe Gomm in July 2018.

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Gomm’s family says it’s difficult to be in the room with him.

“Being that close to him brings up a lot of anger,” Gomm’s sister Audrey Cone said.

They expected Johnson to change his plea to guilty or for a trial date to be set, but that didn’t happen.

“We look at it as a field trip for the offender. It feels like that to us; it’s stretching it out as far as possible,” Gomm’s brother-in-law Chris Cone said.

Johnson’s public defender is challenging grand jury testimony that led to the charges against the already convicted murderer. She questions evidence that was admitted and, in return, thinks his indictment should be thrown out.

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“We want him to be accountable for what he did. He took a life, he should be punished for it,” Angie Wood, the victim’s sister, said.

The Gomm family attorney, who is not part of the criminal proceeding, says this is all part of the process.

“They have to do what they have to do. I don’t think the motions are substantive, I think they’ll be denied,” Mike Padden said.

While the family waits for justice, Gomm’s sisters keep him close to their hearts. They’re wearing necklaces in honor of him. Audrey Cone’s has his face etched on it, and Wood’s has his initials and date of birth.

The prosecution has until Feb. 24 to respond and then the judge has another 30 days to make her ruling.

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There’s also a civil case to compensate the Gomm family for his death. That has stalled in the legislature.

Jennifer Mayerle