A Bemidji woman accused of shooting her brother-in-law outside his home in 2020 has been found guilty of murder by a Beltrami County jury.
Janelle L. Johnson, 38, was facing a second-degree intentional murder charge for the fatal Christmas Day shooting of Jesse Farris. Johnson shot Farris three times following an argument at his home.
Before the shooting, Johnson and her husband decided to confront Farris, 48, due to his alleged abusive treatment of his wife and children, according to the original criminal complaint. Johnson told officers that Farris would hit and beat up her sister "whenever he wanted to," court records show.
Johnson asked her husband to bring his handgun as protection when they went to Farris' house in the 5000 block of Lavinia Road NE. in Bemidji, the charges state.
The three began arguing inside the house before moving to the outside deck where Farris pushed Johnson's husband down in an attempt to walk away. Johnson took the concealed handgun from her husband's pocket and shot at Farris as he walked away, the complaint said.
They fled and called law enforcement about an hour after the shooting, according to the complaint. Farris was found face-down in the snow, shot in the back and the hip.
Farris' uncle, Terrance Kern, said Johnson was lying about Farris having a history of domestic violence, saying he was a "good father and husband," who had three sons. Farris was working in maintenance at Bemidji State University, Kern added.
"He was in the prime of his life,," Kern said in an email to the Star Tribune. "He will never be forgotten."
The conviction followed a two-week trial. Johnson's lawyer Jill Brisbois did not return requests for comment.
Attorney General Keith Ellison's office prosecuted the case at the request of Beltrami County Attorney David L. Hanson. Ellison said in a news release he hopes the conviction "brings a measure of healing" to the family of Farris and the community.
"My thoughts today are with the family members who had to relive this terrible moment in their lives," Ellison said.