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Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Published: 10/15/2013

Man beaten in jail put in coma

Maumee resident attacked after robbery arrest

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Austin T. Johnson, left, was attacked in the Lucas County Corrections Center, allegedly by inmate Archie Fobbs. Austin T. Johnson, left, was attacked in the Lucas County Corrections Center, allegedly by inmate Archie Fobbs.
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A man assaulted in the Lucas County Corrections Center remained in a medically induced coma Tuesday, several days after another inmate allegedly punched and kicked him.

Austin T. Johnson, 21, of Maumee was attacked in the jail Saturday, shortly after his arrest for allegedly robbing a Tim Hortons in Holland. Authorities said another inmate, Archie Fobbs, 24, of Toledo punched Mr. Johnson in the face twice, knocking the man to the ground, and stomped two or three times on his face.

Mr. Johnson’s father was allowed to visit him at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center on Tuesday for the first time. Eric Johnson of Maumee said his son suffered a cracked skull and remained in a medically induced coma.

“He’s got feeding and breathing tubes and [is] unconscious,” said Eric Johnson. “He could have died at any time, and I wouldn’t even know.”

The sheriff’s office said the man is expected to make a full recovery, while his family is taking his prognosis day by day.

The attack took place about 11 p.m. Saturday in a common area of the jail. Inmates were watching a television newscast that included a report on the Tim Hortons robbery when the assault occurred, sheriff's Sgt. Joe Gorney said.

Sergeant Gorney said initial reports indicate another inmate intervened; he didn’t know how quickly jail staff responded. The sergeant said he didn’t know what prompted the attack and said Fobbs will face “at least” a felonious assault charge.

An investigation is ongoing and will include a review of jail video, which authorities would not release Tuesday.

Mr. Johnson was booked into the jail Saturday after he was arrested on felony charges of robbery, carrying a concealed weapon, receiving stolen property, and escape stemming from an incident the doughnut shop near Airport and Holloway Road reported around 7:45 p.m.

Holland police Chief Robert Reed would not say how much the robber took from the restaurant.

A Lucas County sheriff’s deputy spotted and stopped a car matching a description from the robbery report on Airport about a mile away, near the I-475/​U.S. 23 interchange, the chief said. Mr. Johnson led authorities on a short foot pursuit after being stopped before being arrested, he said.

A stolen gun was found in the vehicle driven by Dynasty Crawford, 19, of Toledo, who faces a felony charge of complicity, Chief Reed said.

Eric Johnson said his son, who works in manufacturing, has no previous arrests. The elder Mr. Johnson said he had never heard of Fobbs, who was booked into the jail Friday on misdemeanors including assault, criminal trespass, resisting arrest, and failure to disclose information.

Fobbs pleaded guilty a year ago to carrying a concealed weapon, a felony, and was sentenced to community control, Lucas County court records show.

Eric Johnson said he learned his son was in jail from a message left Saturday night by the sheriff’s office, but other details were hard to come by. Attorney Jerry Phillips went to the jail Sunday to see Austin Johnson, whom relatives asked him to represent.

“When I arrived, I was told he was in the hospital,” Mr. Phillips said. “His family knew nothing about [it]. They knew he was arrested, and that was it.”

Eric Johnson said it was difficult to obtain information from the hospital and sheriff’s office about his son’s condition and whereabouts.

Sheriff John Tharp said relatives are notified when inmates are hospitalized “in a life-and-death situation,” but not in other instances because of security issues. How this situation was handled is something he would need to check on further, the sheriff said.

Sheriff Tharp said he arranged a hospital visit after the father contacted him Tuesday. “I certainly felt that the father would have a right to visit his child,” he said.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6056, or on Twitter @vanmccray.



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