Portage man charged in the murder of his parents appears in court

Nicholas Johnson - Arraignment in K
Posted at 4:49 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 17:49:00-05

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — A man has now been officially charged in the murder of his parents, whose bodies were found in a state game area near their home last week.

Nicholas Johnson is facing five charges including two counts of open murder.

"What is your name please?" said Kalamazoo County District Court Judge Richard Santoni.

“Nicholas Johnson, Your Honor," said Nicholas Johnson, the man charged in the killing of his parents.

27-year-old Nicholas Johnson has been formally charged with murder in the deaths of his parents, Gary and Laura.

He was taken into custody on unrelated charges just one day after police began investigating his parents' disappearance. Their bodies were later found in a state game area not far from their house.

Gary's brother David said he is still shocked at the news.

"I just keep going back to where we live in this kind of world where bad things happen to good people," said David Johnson, Gary Johnson's older brother.

Johnson does have a history of mental illness. His attorney asked the judge for bond during his court appearance, but it was denied.

"I recognize that I have the authority in cases such as murder to deny bond. I am exercising that authority at this time. So, bond is denied due to the serious nature of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, as well as his prior record of failing to appear. You’re all set, Mr. Johnson," said Judge Santoni.

David said he is waiting for more information before passing judgment against his nephew.

"You know, there is speculation, and there is truth. It's the speculation we have. Truth, we really don’t at this point. I try to be really careful about getting too deep into this. It is not fair to convict somebody before the trial," said David Johnson.

David added that he is working to make room in his heart for Nicholas, who has struggled over the years.

"It is easy to try and turn your back on him. Who knows what kind of demons have been riding him all of these years and particularly recently? I have to make room in my heart for him too. It is a hard thing, not just because he is family but because he is somebody that is obviously hurting, obviously in different ways from the rest of us, but hurt is hurt," said David Johnson.

Johnson is scheduled to reappear in court for his preliminary examination conference on March 2 at 8:30 a.m.

He has also been named a person of interest in the 2018 disappearance of a Portage teen, but no charges have been filed in that case.

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