A 30-year-old Michigan man has been sentenced to a minimum of 29 years in prison for the 2021 killing of his parents and disposing of their bodies in a wildlife area.
According to WOOD-TV, Nicholas Johnson received two concurrent sentences of 29 to 69 years in connection with the shooting deaths of his parents, Gary Johnson and Laura Johnson. The sentencing comes after Nicholas Johnson pleaded guilty in October to two counts of second-degree murder. The tragic incident unfolded on February 3, 2021, when Nicholas Johnson reportedly fatally shot his parents at their home in Portage, Michigan.
Gary Johnson’s employer contacted law enforcement when he failed to show up for work for several consecutive days, which was uncharacteristic of him. Portage Department of Public Safety Chief Nicholas Armold stated in a news conference on February 11, 2021, that it was evident there had been “some type of violent activity” at the Johnsons’ residence. While investigators remained hopeful that they would locate the Johnsons, they were aware that the case was likely to turn into a homicide investigation.
During the investigation, authorities discovered blood in several rooms of the house and a 9 mm shell casing in the garage, as reported by WOOD. The bodies of Gary and Laura Johnson were eventually found on February 12, 2021, at the Gourdneck State Game Area, a wildlife area often used by hunters. Nicholas Johnson was located in a storage unit with his mother’s car, which had been missing from their home.
Court documents cited by WWMT-TV indicate that the Johnsons had filed a protective order against their son in March 2018. The order expressed concerns for their safety and the need for their son to seek mental health assistance. Their son had reportedly assaulted them on multiple occasions, with incidents ranging from pushing his mother to making threats. The protective order stated that Gary and Laura Johnson had reached a point where they could no longer allow their son to continue destroying their property.
At his sentencing hearing, Nicholas Johnson expressed remorse and apologized, stating, “I want another chance. I won’t ever hurt anyone else.” He acknowledged feeling “terrible” about the tragic events.
According to the Portage Department of Public Safety, Nicholas Johnson is also considered a person of interest in the May 2018 disappearance of Bonafacio Pena.
This heart-wrenching case serves as a somber reminder of the tragic consequences that can result from family disputes and unresolved conflicts. The sentencing brings a measure of closure to a deeply distressing family tragedy and an ongoing missing person case.