Couple Charged in Walt Whitman Bridge Standoff

Man, woman undergo psychological evaluations

Originally Posted March 28, 2008

Both adult occupants of an SUV have been criminally charged in connection with Thursday's tense standoff on the Walt Whitman Bridge.

Meanwhile, the mother of one of those suspects spoke only to NBC 10 in defense of her daughter Friday.

The standoff began around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, during which investigators said 35-year-old Johnny L. Reed IV -- armed with a baseball bat and what turned out to be a toy gun -- threatened to blow up the bridge.

According to authorities, Reed claimed he was being persecuted by the government and demanded to speak to a local television news anchor as well as Sen. Barack Obama's wife.

"Tell Michelle Obama to check her e-mail," Reed said, as he was led into the Bellmawr state police barracks.

Police said the situation began when they tried to pull Reed over for speeding, but he wouldn't slow down. Suddenly, Reed stopped on the bridge.

Police said he got out of his car and began waving a bat at passing cars and had his 1-year-old child in his arms the entire time.

After three hours, state police hostage negotiators were able to convince Reed and the baby's 31-year-old mother, Monica R. Hayman, to surrender peacefully.

The Winslow Township couple has been charged with several offenses, including terroristic threats, criminal restraint and aggravated assault for him, and obstruction of justice and resisting arrest for her.

Reed is being held on $70,000 bail, while his girlfriend's bail was set at $65,000 with a 10-percent option.

Both are now undergoing psychological evaluations at a Camden hospital.

NBC 10's Ted Greenberg spoke to Monica Hayman's mother Friday.

"It's awful. Put yourself in that place, your child on the bridge, you got all these guns around and everything," Virginia Hayman said.

Virginia Hayman said she hasn't slept since finding out her daughter and her boyfriend were the adults police say were at the center of Thursday afternoon's rush-hour standoff.

"It's ridiculous what's going on. It's terrible."

Authorities said Monica Hayman was in the SUV with the couple's 1-year-old son, but was not being held against her will.

NBC 10 has learned that Reed complained to police in Camden County about electronic listening equipment being used to spy on him four days before the standoff.

"I don't appreciate it, and they cried out for help. But did the police help? No," Virginia Hayman said.

Asked why Reed stopped in the middle of the bridge, Virginia Hayman said, "I have no idea. That I don't know."

Winslow Township police said Reed came to their headquarters Sunday, complaining that his electronics and vehicles had been bugged. Police said he appeared unstable and abruptly left.

Virginia Hayman is now caring for her grandson.

"They think they're crazy and I don't appreciate that," Virginia Hayman said. "They're not crazy. … They are very good people."

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