PORTAGE, Mich. (TCD) — A 30-year-old man must spend a minimum of 29 years in prison for killing his parents in 2021 and dumping their bodies in a wildlife area.
WOOD-TV reports a Kalamazoo County judge sentenced Nicholas Johnson to two terms of 29 to 69 years behind bars, which will run concurrently, in connection with the shooting deaths of his parents, Gary Johnson and Laura Johnson. Nicholas Johnson pleaded guilty in October to two counts of second-degree murder. Nicholas Johnson reportedly fatally shot his parents at their home in Portage Feb. 3, 2021.
According to WOOD, Gary Johnson’s employer reached out to law enforcement after Johnson failed to show up for work several days in a row, which was unlike him.
In a news conference Feb. 11, 2021, Portage Department of Public Safety Chief Nicholas Armold said it was clear there was “some type of violent activity” at the Johnsons’ home. Armold told reporters investigators were “going to remain optimistic that we’re gonna find the Johnsons,” but said they were aware it would likely turn into a homicide investigation.
According to WOOD, investigators found blood in several rooms of the house, as well as a 9 mm shell casing in the garage.
WWMT-TV reports the bodies of Gary and Laura Johnson were discovered Feb. 12, 2021, at Gourdneck State Game Area, a wildlife area used by hunters. Investigators located Nicholas Johnson in a storage unit with his mother’s car, which had been missing from their home.
Court documents cited by WWMT show the Johnsons filed a protective order against their son in March 2018, which read in part, “Gary and I are concerned for our safety and others’ safety. I need him to stay away from us for a while and he needs to seek mental health help.”
He reportedly assaulted his parents on multiple occasions. One time, he reportedly pushed his mother so hard that she fell and hit her head. His parents told him he could not return to their home. Laura Johnson said in the protective order that Nicholas “previously pushed my husband, threatened us.”
She added, “He is now homeless. …We are done with allowing him to keep destroying our house and property.”
WWMT reports Nicholas Johnson apologized at his sentencing hearing and said, “I want another chance. I won’t ever hurt anyone else.”
He reportedly told the judge he felt “terrible” about what happened.
According to the Portage Department of Public Safety, Nicholas Johnson is considered a person of interest in the May 2018 disappearance of Bonafacio Pena.
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