Sauk Rapids man pleads guilty to murder following 2020 overdose death




  • In US
  • 2022-05-16 16:32:40Z
  • By SC Cloud | St. Cloud Times

FOLEY - A Sauk Rapids man pleaded guilty to third-degree murder May 2 after he allegedly sold pills to a man who later died, according to Benton County court documents.

Donovan Gene Johnson, 24, pleaded guilty to one felony count of third-degree murder and one felony count of third-degree controlled substance crime. Judge Michael Jesse presided.

According to the criminal complaint against Johnson, Sauk Rapids police officers responded to a medical assistance request in November 2020 after a caller reported two individuals had collapsed and were not breathing.

Officers arrived with Mayo Ambulance and CPR was started on the individuals. One of the individuals, Ryan William McPherson, 23, was pronounced dead.

Four pills were located at the residence and were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Laboratory. They were analyzed and identified as fentanyl and had the markings of what is normally oxycodone pills, which would not contain fentanyl, according to the complaint.

McPherson's autopsy by the Midwest Medical Examiners Office showed a lethal level of fentanyl. The death was classified as accidental and attributed to the affects of fentanyl.

A man told investigators that earlier in the day Johnson came to the residence. McPherson and the other individual who collapsed obtained pills the caller thought was oxycodone from Johnson. The caller indicated the individuals both took a pill provided by Johnson and the caller observed the purchase of pills from Johnson. The caller's description of the pills matched the ones found at the residence, according to the complaint.

The individual who collapsed provided a statement that Johnson came over to the residence the night of the overdose to sell oxycodone. The individual believed Johnson said he had nine of the pills, according to the complaint. The pills were purchased by McPherson and the individual for $28 each, according to the complaint. The individual stated he took a pill, but did not observe McPherson take one, indicating McPherson likely took one of the pills by himself, according to the complaint.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced July 21.

This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Sauk Rapids man pleads guilty to murder following 2020 overdose death

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