MI man gets prison sentence for killing parents and burying their bodies

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A western Michigan man has been sentenced to decades in prison after pleading no contest in the 2021 slaying of his parents, whose bodies were found buried at a state game range.

A Kalamazoo County judge on Wednesday sentenced Nicholas Johnson to serve 29 to 69 years in prison. A Portage man must serve at least 29 years before he is eligible for parole, WWMT-TV reported.

Johnson pleaded no contest last month to two counts of second-degree murder in the fatal shootings of his parents, Gary Johnson, 65, and Laura Johnson, 64. Authorities said they were killed at their home in Portage, about 55 miles south. of Grand Rapids.

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Nick Johnson’s parents filed a no-contact order against their son after he broke into their house in 2018.


After Gary Johnson’s employer reported that he had lost his job, the police determined that he and his wife were missing. Their bodies were later found buried in a wooded area at the Gourdneck State Game Area, about three miles from their home.

A medical examiner determined their deaths.

Relatives and friends who gave victim impact statements during Wednesday’s sentencing mentioned Nicholas Johnson’s mental health issues and said his parents were afraid of him.

“It was never if Nick was going to kill them, but when,” said Deborah Ryder, Laura Johnson’s cousin.

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Johnson’s parents had filed a no-contact order against their son after he broke into their home in September 2019, according to court documents. They also had personal protection orders against him, but those expired before they disappeared.

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