The Washington Post

Suspect in Olney killings accused in jail attacks

Clarification: Earlier versions of this article were unclear on what jail officials believe Rohan Goodlett used to attack the correctional officer. He may have pulled the blade out of a small, plastic-handled shaver. This version has been changed.

An Olney man with a history of mental illness, who is behind bars in connection with the slayings of a neighbor and fast-food worker, slashed a fellow inmate in July and a correctional officer in August and hasn’t been prescribed medication since April, according to court documents.

Rohan Goodlett recently wrote 11 pages to his warden at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, asserting that correctional officers were teasing him through his dreams and demanding that the warden “find another creature to inhabit,” according to filings in Montgomery County courts.

Jail officials believe that Goodlett used a razor blade to slash the correctional officer. Goodlett may have pulled the razor blade out of the small, plastic-handled shavers that are used by general-population inmates and some inmates in the segregation part of the jail. Corrections officials are looking into whether Goodlett should have had such a device, or if he got one without permission. In the earlier attack on the inmate, Goodlett apparently used a toilet brush handle with a sharpened end.

Inmates who are not deemed a serious danger are allowed plastic-handled shavers. Jail officials declined to discuss how Goodlett was handled, citing medical privacy laws.

Goodlett’s behavior in the jail could affect when and how the Olney killings will be tried.

His attorney, Mary Siegfried, said in a filing last week that Goodlett has repeatedly refused to meet with her, most recently declining to leave his cell, according to a correctional officer, because “it’s manic Monday, and everyone knows you can’t trust people on Mondays.” Siegfried said that Goodlett appears mentally incompetent to stand trial.

“Defendant has clearly decompensated in recent weeks,” Seigfried wrote on Aug. 24. “Defendant has written eleven pages to the warden at the [county jail] complaining of correctional officers ‘teasing’ him ‘through his dreams,’ stating that the ‘whole media, tv, movies and even all of the songs on the radio, I’m convinced, are all 1 huge interconnected information superhighway dropping hints and clues’ to him.”

Seigfried said a “lack of medication may have contributed” to the assaults in the jail.

In response, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Sharon V. Burrell ordered that Goodlett be evaluated by psychiatrists.

The Olney slayings, in March, were shocking for several reasons. Violent crime is rare in the suburb.

Goodlett was accused of entering the home of his next-door neighbor, Nazir Ahmed, a gentle, 81-year-old retired engineer, and shooting him execution-style in the back of the head in an upstairs bedroom. Days later, according to police, he gunned down Gedara Wickramanayake, who was walking home from his job at a Subway sandwich shop.

At the time, Goodlett was under the supervision of a state program designed to monitor people with mental illnesses who have had run-ins with the law.

Goodlett, a college graduate who has worked as a barber, could be friendly, neighbors have said. “He is a very different person when he is medicated,” Seigfried said Thursday. “He’s very polite. He’s intelligent.”

Goodlett earlier had a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, and has suffered from delusions and hallucinations, according to court filings. On March 23, he was arrested in connection with the two Olney killings and booked into the jail.

He needs psychotropic medications but has not been prescribed any since April 23, Seigfried wrote. In Maryland, jail officials generally cannot force-medicate an inmate, said Pat Sollock, the county corrections department's chief of mental-health services. If someone with a mental disorder is an imminent threat, that prisoner can be forced to receive a one-time, short-acting dosage of medication, Sollock said.

On July 6, Goodlett asked a fellow inmate to look at a photo and touched the inmate’s face, according to an arrest affidavit. Goodlett then slashed his face with a sharp object in his right hand, jail officials said. When they searched Goodlett, they found a broken-off toilet brush handle, with an end sharpened, secured to Goodlett’s upper left biceps with a rubber glove and tucked under his prison jumpsuit, according to the affidavit.

Goodlett was charged with second-degree assault in that case, which remains under investigation.

On Aug. 18, Goodlett allegedly slashed the correctional officer, and jail officials later found a small, wrapped razor near him, according to court records made public Thursday. The correctional officer received a gash and three-inch scratch. In that incident, Goodlett was charged with assault and reckless endangerment.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
How to make Sean Brock's 'Heritage' cornbread
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
The signature dish of Charleston, S.C.
Play Videos
Why seasonal allergies make you miserable
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
What you need to know about filming the police
Play Videos
The Post taste tests Pizza Hut's new hot dog pizza
5 tips for using your thermostat
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
The signature drink of New Orleans

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.