Jurors in Carlton County deliberated for about seven hours before convicting 34-year-old James Francis Montano in the shooting death of his uncle Andrew James Gokee.
A 12-person panel found Montano guilty of first degree premeditated murder, second degree murder and attempted first degree premeditated murder following six days of testimony.
Near midnight on April 20, 2018, Carlton County deputies responded to a report of a shooting on Kari Road in Progress Township involving Montano, Gokee and Hudson Gauthier, Gokee’s son. Gauthier said that he and his father were leaving Montano’s father’s home when Montano suddenly appeared near the front of their vehicle armed with a small caliber rifle. Montano fired two shots, one striking his cousin Gauthier in the head and one fatally striking the 56-year-old Gokee in the chest.
Law enforcement discovered Montano after a 4-hour search and arrested him.
The jury deliberated well into the night Tuesday, arriving at a guilty verdict in the very early hours of Wednesday morning.
Carlton County Attorney Lauri Ketola thanked the jury for their careful deliberation. “They came to a just verdict,” she said in an interview Wednesday.
The case will appear before Judge Leslie Beiers in about six weeks, where Montano is set to receive a presumptive sentence of life without parole, Ketola said.
Henry Erlandson • 612-673-4789