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Alex Mann

The Baltimore Sun

March 28, 2024

A second man was convicted Thursday in the ambush killing of Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley more than three years ago and sentenced to life in prison.

Travon Shaw, 35, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Thursday. He was due in court the same day for sentencing after a jury in October found him guilty of all counts in the killing of 27-year-old Justin Johnson the same morning Holley was gunned down.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Althea M. Handy sentenced Shaw to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 20 years.

His attorney, public defender Matthew Connell, declined to comment.

Prosecutors previously said that Shaw’s accomplice, Elliot Knox, shot Holley around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 16, 2021, and that both men opened fire on Johnson about 90 minutes later.

A jury earlier this month found Knox, 34, guilty of murder and related offenses in both cases. The jury acquitted Knox on one count: use of the firearm in Holley’s death. He is due in court for sentencing in June.

Holley, a 39-year-old mother of four, was sitting in her patrol car while working an overtime shift in Baltimore’s Curtis Bay neighborhood when she was ambushed and shot in the 4400 block of Pennington Avenue. Bullets struck her head twice, damaging her brain and neck. She died in the hospital about a week after the shooting.

About an hour and a half after Holley was shot, gunmen approached Johnson, who was sitting in his 1997 Lincoln Town Car, parked in the 600 block of Lucia Avenue in the city’s Yale Heights neighborhood. The shooters fired into the car from behind. Six bullets tore into Johnson’s back, damaging his spine, lungs and heart. He died at the scene.

At Knox’s trial, the prosecutor, Kurt Bjorklund, told jurors the killings amounted to “two executions, 90 minutes apart, [in] two different neighborhoods.”

Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates, a Democrat, applauded Bjorklund and the detective work from Baltimore Police in a statement Thursday.

“Today’s sentencing of Travon Shaw ensures that he will never be able to commit another ruthless act of violence in our city ever again,” Bates said. “Officer Keona Holley and Justin Johnson will never return home to their families, a fact that will remain with their loved ones for the rest of their lives. My heart goes out to them as they continue to grieve and work to heal. This should be a moment for all of us to reflect on the importance of keeping each other safe, including our police officers.”

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