A man with a long criminal record who stabbed a woman during an attempted carjacking at an Elyria gas station in December has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for the crime.
U.S. District Judge James Gwin sentenced 40-year-old Johnny G. Mack III of Elyria on Tuesday, according to federal court records and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
Mack — also known as Johnathon Mack, according to Lorain County Jail records — previously pleaded guilty to carjacking. He was on parole from an Ohio prison at the time of the attack, police said.
Federal charges were filed in the case thanks to the Elyria Police Department’s partnership with federal authorities in Project Safe Neighborhoods, which aims to reduce violent crime. The project was restarted in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Justice and directed U.S. Attorney’s Offices to partner with local law enforcement to target violent crime and criminals for prosecution.
According to Elyria police and the FBI, a 33-year-old Lorain County woman was outside Speedway at 909 E. Broad St. on Dec. 12, when Mack approached and asked for directions to an address on South Abbe Road.
The woman, whom police said had a bad feeling about Mack, offered to look up the address on her phone, but also grabbed a pocket knife from her center console inside her 2016 Nissan Altima and slid the knife under her.
That’s when Mack pulled a knife and threatened to stab the woman, pushing her into her car. She was jabbed by the blade, and suffered small puncture wounds on her legs, stomach and hands before she was able to honk the horn, scream and yell for help.
Other customers came to her aid and Mack fled. The victim did not immediately seek medical attention but went to the hospital two days later, according to federal court records.
Elyria police said Mack’s intended victim did everything right by being aware of her surroundings and by making noise and commotion in order to summon help.
A photo of the suspect in the attack was released to the public. A tip came in that Mack was responsible, and both the victim and Mack’s brother identified him from the images, according to federal court records.
Mack’s brother “stated that the blue coat worn by the suspect in the security camera footage was one (he) had personally given to his brother,” an FBI agent wrote in a criminal complaint.
Mack was arrested two days later in a parking lot on Chestnut Commons Drive. He was on parole from a four-year prison sentence for burglary and escape charges at the time of the crime, and his prior criminal record also included arrests for domestic violence and unlawful restraint.
Mack admitted the crime during interviews and also claimed responsibility for a Dec. 10 break-in at an Abbe Road business during which he stole computer equipment, according to Elyria police.
According to federal court records, Mack told detectives he “snapped,” that the victim pushed him when he asked for directions, that he pushed back and that she pulled a knife and cut his arm.
He said he tried to steal her car so he could drive to Cleveland to see his son but denied stabbing her despite evidence of her injuries, according to federal court records.
In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors told the court that Mack’s juvenile criminal record included arrests for car theft, fleeing and eluding, felonious assault and multiple arrests for drunken driving, some of which resulted in him being incarcerated by the Ohio Department of Youth Services.
His adult criminal record also included convictions for burglary, escape, aggravated menacing, receiving stolen property, drunken driving, failure to stop after an accident, car theft, aggravated burglary and drug possession, according to federal court records.
Mack’s behavior during his most recent term in an Ohio prison, from 2014 to 2018, also did not impress a local judge. According to Lorain County Common Pleas Court records, Judge James Miraldi denied Mack’s motion for judicial release in September 2016 due to his bad behavior.
Miraldi wrote in a ruling denying Mack’s request for judicial release that Mack’s prior record was “not good and his prison record does not show a change to show a turn away from criminal thinking.”
“Since the last request for judicial release was denied, the defendant was making himself homemade liquor and storing it in his toilet flush box among other violations,” Miraldi wrote. “Substance abuse may well underlie the defendant’s criminal behavior and such actions like this do not give the court the kind of confidence necessary to give a defendant a chance to succeed on probation.”