PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan man was sentenced to decades in prison after pleading no contest in the 2021 slayings of his parents, whose bodies were found buried at a state game area.
A Kalamazoo County judge on Wednesday sentenced Nicholas Johnson to spend between 29 and 69 years in prison. The Portage man must serve a minimum of 29 years before he’s eligible for parole, WWMT-TV reported.
Johnson pleaded no contest last month to two counts of second-degree murder in the February 2021 fatal shootings of his parents, Gary Johnson, 65, and Laura Johnson, 64. Authorities said they were slain at their home in Portage, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) south of Grand Rapids.
After Gary Johnson’s employer reported that he had missed work, 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 (4.8 kilometers) from their home.
A medical examiner ruled their deaths homicide.
Relatives and friends who gave victim impact statements during Wednesday’s sentencing mentioned Nicholas Johnson’s mental health issues and said his parents feared him.
“It was never if Nick was going to kill them, but when,” said Deborah Ryder, Laura Johnson’s cousin.
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 vanished.