September 27, 2021

St. Cloud man found guilty of second-degree murder in nightclub stabbing

ST. CLOUD – A 28-year-old St. Cloud man was convicted of second-degree murder in the December 2019 stabbing death of a patron of the Red Carpet Nightclub in downtown St. Cloud.

In a verdict filed Wednesday, Christopher Lamar Johnson was found guilty of two felony counts of second-degree murder — one with intent but not premeditated and one without intent but while committing a felony.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Johnson is the second defendant found guilty in the stabbing death of 29-year-old Unity McGill of St. Cloud.

Johnson’s brother, 29-year-old Lawrence Michael Johnson of St. Cloud, and 28-year-old Bryant Jerome Stephenson of St. Cloud were also charged in connection with the stabbing.

According to court documents, the three men assaulted an unidentified man after he stepped on or bumped into a woman about 1 a.m. Dec. 29, 2019, inside the Red Carpet.

Surveillance video shows McGill appear to touch Lawrence Johnson on the shoulder, prompting him to punch McGill and McGill to punch back. Bouncers then removed the three men from the bar.

A witness outside the Red Carpet testified during the Feb. 22-24 trial that he heard Christopher Johnson say they were going to “serve some type of punishment” and “kill him,” court documents state.

The three men then re-entered the Red Carpet. Surveillance video shows the brothers exchanging a shiny object that reflected the light.

Just before 1:30 a.m., the three men attacked McGill on the dance floor and Christopher Johnson “grabbed Mr. McGill with his left hand and made a series of jabbing motions with his right hand,” documents state.

About three minutes after the fight began, McGill can be seen collapsing out the front door; he was pronounced dead at 3:20 a.m. at St. Cloud Hospital.

An autopsy found McGill had nonlethal blunt-force trauma to the head and multiple stab wounds in his chest, abdomen and back. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death was excessive bleeding.

In October, Lawrence Johnson was convicted of one felony count of second-degree aiding and abetting murder with intent, one felony count of second-degree aiding and abetting murder without intent, and two misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree assault. His sentencing is scheduled for March 17.

Stephenson was charged with two felony counts of second-degree murder; a settlement conference is scheduled for April 12.

Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299

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