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'Nobody Has Taken Responsibility': MN Legislature Fails To Approve $3M Settlement For Family Of Murdered DOC Officer Joseph Gomm

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The family of a murdered Minnesota corrections officer is making one final plea to lawmakers before taking the case to court.

The legislature again failed to approve a $3 million settlement for the family of Joe Gomm during it's regular session. An inmate brutally attacked the 45-year-old while he was supervising a work shop inside the Stillwater Prison.

Three years later, Gomm's family is still trying to make sense of their search for justice.

"These hardworking men and women of the DOC feel disrespected and ignored," said their attorney, Mike Padden.

He says the suggest from a lawmaker to appropriate funds to the family after his brutal murder made the most sense, comparing it to how the victims of the bridge collapse were compensated by the state.

But another session has passed, and still, nothing.

"Nobody has taken responsibility. It was easily preventable - it's all in black and white in the file," said Audrey Cone, Gomm's sister.

From that file, a WCCO investigation first detailed the final minutes of Officer Gomm's life, along with the warning signs that were seemingly ignored about Edward Johnson:

The inmate had a five-page discipline report to spend nearly 5,000 days in segregation.

He also sent a letter to relatives two weeks before the attack that "you will all hear some very bad news real soon."

Beat with a sledgehammer and stabbed with homemade weapons he had hidden, Johnson himself was paid more than $600,000 by the state for losing an eye in a prison fight years earlier.

So far, Gomm's family has received $60,000 in a workers comp claim.

"The assault was so bad Joe's face was unrecognizable. That's how bad this assault was," said Padden.

But, more than money, his sister believes a settlement means an admission that they've been waiting for: "That Joe was not in a safe work environment and for someone to finally admit that someone didn't do their job, and it cost Joe to lose his life.

Padden says if the legislature fails to do anything by July, the statute of limitations runs out on a wrongful death lawsuit - leaving them no choice but to take their fight to court.

It's still possible the legislature could take up a settlement during a special session. Republican State Sen. Karin Housley said in a statement she's still working to help the family receive fair compensation for their loss.

Calls to the DFL for comment have yet to be returned.

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