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Moorhead man to serve at least 10 years in fatal shooting of former employee

Neil James Johnson1 / 2
Jake Glover2 / 2

MOORHEAD — A judge ordered a Moorhead man who pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder without intent to serve at least 10 years of a 15-year sentence in prison, with the last five under supervised release.

Neil James Johnson, 26, once supervised Jacob Glover at a car wash, but ended up firing him and allowing him to live in his garage. Johnson fatally shot Glover, 28, of West Fargo, in April 2017, court documents stated.

Jacob Glover's father sat in silence as his attorney read a statement aloud in court. Just feet away were his son's killer and members of that man's family.

"No father should have to bury his son," John Glover said through his attorney.

The father's grief and anger came through, as he wished that "everyone in the family dies a violent death, surrounded by strangers" just like Glover. He asked forgiveness from God for making such a statement.

On Tuesday, Clay County District Judge Amber Gustafson ordered to Johnson to pay more than $25,000 in restitution, including money that will go to the victim's family for funeral costs. Johnson received credit for the 398 days he's spent in custody since his arrest.

An earlier charge of second-degree murder with intent, but not premeditated, was dropped.

The shooting came amid Johnson's concerns about Glover trying to steal from him, after Johnson learned that Glover had been accused of trying to steal coins from the father of a mutual acquaintance, court documents stated.

After the statement from Glover's father was read, Johnson's lawyer, Ryan Pacyga, said Johnson was ready to accept responsibility for his part in what happened.

Pacyga said Johnson will try to do his best henceforth and surround himself with the right people to help guide him. "He's still got a life to live," Pacyga said.

According to court documents:

On April 6, 2017, police were sent to 1813 16th St. S. in Moorhead after a caller, later identified as Johnson, said he had shot someone and that the handgun was in his living room.

Johnson said the man he shot, identified as Glover, had run away. Officers found Glover in a driveway a few houses away, and he was taken to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo where he was pronounced dead.

Johnson said he received messages from another man that day, identified in court documents only as T.M., who alleged that Glover tried to steal coins from T.M.'s father and warned Johnson to check his house.

Johnson, who acknowledged snorting methamphetamine earlier that day, searched through Glover's belongings and loaded a handgun.

Some time later, Glover arrived and was met by Johnson, who held the gun. After an argument, Johnson said Glover approached him. As he did, Johnson held up his gun.

Glover said he would break Johnson's neck, and the pair continued to argue. Johnson said Glover was 4 to 5 feet away from him and he pulled the trigger on the gun. The first round misfired, Johnson said, and Glover froze. Johnson said he pulled the trigger again, hitting Glover.

Johnson said Glover then said "You shot me!" over and over. As Glover moved toward him, Johnson said he shot at Glover twice more.

A medical report found Glover had been shot twice, once in the back and once in the buttock or hip area. Neither wound showed evidence of close-range firing, court documents said.