KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Roy C. McGrath, a former Maryland governor’s chief of staff who was at the center of a nationwide manhunt since last month, died in Knoxville Monday night following a shooting. McGrath was 53 years old and had been considered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation an international flight risk following a failure to appear at a Baltimore, Md. trial.
The trial in which McGrath had failed to appear was on March 13 for indictments on wire fraud, theft or bribery, and destruction, alteration or falsification of records charges. According to the FBI, during an October 2021 court appearance, McGrath entered a not guilty plea on all charges and had been released pre-trial on the condition that he appear at all scheduled court dates.
When McGrath failed to appear at the March 13 trial in Baltimore, a federal judge issued an arrest warrant and the FBI offered a monetary reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to his location and arrest. The U.S. Marshals Service also offered a reward for McGrath’s arrest.
McGrath had served as chief of staff for former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. According to our sister station DC News Now, McGrath had resigned in August 2020 when he was 11 weeks into the job as Hogan’s chief of staff and moved to Naples, Fla.
Before serving as chief of staff to former Md. Gov. Hogan, McGrath had been appointed by Hogan to serve as executive director of the environmental agency in December 2016.
Before his death, DC News Now reported that McGrath had faced an eight-count federal indictment, including charges connected to a more than $200,000 severance payment he received from the Maryland Environmental Service after moving to the governor’s office in 2020; he was also accused to embezzling an additional $170,000. Charges against McGrath alleged that from March 2019 to December 2020, McGrath had used his position as the Maryland Environmental Service director to make payments to himself.
Had McGrath been convicted of the federal charges, he faced up to three decades behind bars.
After his failure to appear on March 13, DC News Now reported that the Collier County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office did a welfare check at McGrath’s Naples residence. Nobody was home.
Weeks later, McGrath was spotted in West Knoxville in the area of Kingston Pike at Lovell Road. Several agents and law enforcement personnel responded to the scene and during the arrest, McGrath was injured and taken to the hospital. His attorney Joseph Murtha later said the FBI confirmed McGrath’s passing.
The incident remains under investigation by the FBI’s Inspection Division.
The Associated Press and DC News Now contributed to this report.