Man charged with two counts of murder in parents’ deaths

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Portage man has been formally charged with killing his parents. 

Nick Johnson said almost nothing during his virtual arraignment Thursday afternoon. He acknowledged to Kalamazoo County Judge Richard Santoni that he understood what he was being charged with: two counts of murder and weapons charges linked to the deaths of his parents Gary and Laura Johnson.

Nick Johnson, 27, was their only child.

Police say Nick Johnson was found Feb. 9 in a storage unit at the Mallard Cove Apartment complex in Portage. According to court documents, he had a loaded gun and was hiding from officers. He was arrested on weapons charges unrelated to his parents’ case.

Feb. 9 is the same day authorities started looking for Gary and Laura Johnson. Gary Johnson’s employer became worried after he didn’t log in to work and called police to check their home on Romence Road.

Police ultimately recovered the Johnsons’ bodies Feb. 12 at the Gourdneck State Game Area, about 3.5 miles to the south of their home.

An undated courtesy photo of Gary and Laura Johnson.

Court documents indicate the murders happened Feb. 3. Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting confirmed they were shot.

“Not only is there immediate family and extended family, but there’s also a community that is impacted by their murders, a church community and a work community and a neighborhood that all have been impacted,” Getting said Thursday. “We will use every resource that we have at our disposal in order to make sure justice is obtained in this case.”

During the arraignment, Johnson’s public defender said Johnson maintains his innocence and has a history of mental health issues. The public defender made a request for bond but the judge denied it.

Johnson’s next court hearing is scheduled for March 2. 

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