5/4/2018 1:48:00 PM Family of overdose victim asks judge to
sentence accomplice with eye on her future
Morgan Johnson, 18, of Center City, convicted for third degree unintentional aiding and abetting murder in the opioid overdose death of a rural Chisago City man was sentenced this week.
The mother of the 18-year-old victim, Cameron Johnson, told Judge Suzanne Bollman through her victim impact statement read aloud in court, that she does not seek “retribution” for Cameron’s death in this instance. What she desires is for Morgan Johnson (no relation to the victim) to receive treatment and can work to become part of the effort to rid the world of addiction to opioids and the illicit street versions of the drugs.
Cameron’s mother stated she hopes Morgan can become “a shining light” and be part of the solution fulfilling 120 hours of community work service.
Johnson aided and abetted Alex Menne in Cameron’s 2016 overdose death when she was a minor-aged teen, but her trial and sentencing were open.
Menne has been convicted and is serving several years in prison.
As for sentencing, Morgan and her family members sat on the opposite side of the courtroom from Cameron’s family, as Judge Bollman accepted the prosecution’s proposal to place Morgan in a residential treatment program at an Anoka County Non-secure Facility. The program is four to six months.
Morgan is to serve 45 days in the county jail as well.
Judge Bollman ordered her to report to jail December 12, on the two-year anniversary of Cameron’s death.
The judge explained she wants the defendant to be exposed to what incarceration feels like and reminded Morgan to use time in jail to think. “How you do is solely on your shoulders,” the judge said. She also told Morgan to keep in mind that any violation of terms of probation can result in Morgan being ordered to prison for an 86 months’ sentence, which for now, is stayed.
Probation is until age 21 when extended juvenile jurisdiction would expire.
Judge Bollman also ordered Morgan to remit $1,998 to Cameron’s family for the cost of his gravestone. This is a priority, the judge added.
John Lillie, Morgan’s lawyer, proposed she be sentenced to outpatient treatment and be allowed to live with her family in the Chisago Lakes community. Lillie argued that Morgan was a secondary actor in this tragedy and said, “They (she and Menne) were co-defendants in this but they couldn’t be more different.”
Aimee Cupelli, Assistant Chisago County Attorney, said the state is quite adamant recommending in-patient residential treatment to the judge. The state feels the defendant could easily become re-entrenched into the local drug culture she was part of-- if allowed to enroll in outpatient programs. It is reasonable to conclude that if Morgan had not been arrested, she would still be engaged in distributing and being amongst people who are connected to drugs, said Cupelli.