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Former top aide to Maryland governor dead after manhunt

Roy McGrath was considered a wanted fugitive after failing to show up for court on corruption charges in March.
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Posted at 1:55 PM, Apr 04, 2023

The one-time chief of staff for former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan died Monday after an FBI-led manhunt.

Roy McGrath’s attorney said that the FBI confirmed his client's death. Joseph Murtha added that it was not immediately clear if McGrath's wound was self-inflicted or came during an exchange of gunfire with agents.

William Brennan, an attorney for McGrath's wife, Laura Bruner, also confirmed the death and said she was “absolutely distraught.”

According to an earlier email from FBI Supervisory Special Agent Shayne Buchwald in Maryland, McGrath was wounded during “an agent-involved shooting” about 6:30 p.m. in a commercial area on the southwestern outskirts of Knoxville, Tennessee. 

McGrath, 53, was declared a wanted fugitive after failing to show up for court on corruption charges in March. The FBI said he was considered an international flight risk.

In a statement, Hogan said he and his wife, Yumi, “are deeply saddened by this tragic situation. We are praying for Mr. McGrath’s family and loved ones.”

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

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Murtha called the death “a tragic ending to the past three weeks of uncertainty” and said his client always maintained his innocence.

Murtha said he believed McGrath, who had moved to Naples, Florida, was planning to fly to Maryland the night before the beginning of his trial. When he failed to show up, a judge issued an arrest warrant and dismissed prospective jurors.

McGrath was indicted in 2021 on accusations that he fraudulently secured a $233,648 severance payment, equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service, by falsely telling the agency's board the governor had approved it. He was also accused of fraud and embezzlement connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses. McGrath pleaded not guilty.

McGrath resigned just 11 weeks into the job as Hogan’s chief of staff in 2020 after the payments became public.

If convicted of the federal charges, he would have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years for each of four counts of wire fraud, plus a maximum of 10 years for each of two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.