Anatomy of a Murder, 2024

One of the first murders recorded in Minneapolis in 2024 featured a gruesome twist.

You probably saw the headlines; a local realtor, preparing a vacant house for a showing, discovers a dead body stuffed in a garbage bin inside the garage. Inside the bin was Reid C. Johnson, age 51, most recently of Burnsville. No one deserves to go out like that.

The bin was wrapped in a tarp. A suspicious car was seen (and photographed) inside the garage the day before. The county coroner determined that Mr. Johnson met his demise as the result of multiple gunshot wounds. As of yet, no arrests have been made in the case.

Johnson’s Star Tribune obituary provides no hints as to his untimely demise or the life he led leading up to it. The only detail provided was Johnson’s graduation from Minnehaha Academy decades ago.

A search of the state court database shows a long paper trail for Johnson. He was convicted of at least 16 felony counts arising from at least that many separate cases. The public criminal record on Johnson spans the decades back to 1997. Drug, theft, assault, and weapons charges are the recurring themes. His earliest recorded conviction was for domestic assault.

In June 2018, Reid was sentenced to 68 months in prison, to be served concurrently with a 60-month sentence arising from a separated felony conviction in another case. He was given credit for 12 months of time served.

An August 2019, in another felony case, he was given 81 months, with a downward departure and credit for a second time for the 25 or so months of time he had served up to that point.

At his latest felony sentencing, in March 2020, the 16-time felon benefitted from another downward departure. The departure report indicated that Johnson “shows remorse” and that this crime was “less onerous” than his usual fare.

Nonetheless, Johnson was sentenced to 72 months, less a credit (for the third time) for the 32 months of time served. That produces a net-net-net sentence of a little over three years.

Under Minnesota prison math, in April 2023 we find Johnson a free man, getting a speeding ticket on I-35. Had he served out his (reduced) sentences in these pancaked felony convictions, he would have still been in prison today.

Still, nobody deserves Johnson’s fate.