Surrey man sentenced to jail in death of South Delta pastor’s son

The man accused in the death of a Tsawwassen man last year has been sentenced to nine years in jail.

Last February, 21-year-old Taylor Johnson was found dead in a vacant Langley home that was being used as a marijuana grow-operation.

Jesse River Hill, of Surrey, was on Wednesday sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the case. HIs sentence also includes a lifetime firearm prohibition.

Johnson was found dead by police on the evening of Feb. 26, 2013 after officers were called to the residence in the 2000-block of 200th Street in Langley to check on his wellbeing.

The officers discovered Johnson’s body, as well as a marijuana grow-op on the rural property.

Police believe the murder was a result of the suspect trying to steal the crop. Johnson was working as a caretaker at the home and was not involved with the grow-op.

“It was a senseless act that tragically took the life of Taylor,” IHIT spokesperson Jennifer Pound said at the time the charges against Hill were announced.

“Taylor was a good kid,” she said. “He was naive, and he made a bad decision that ultimately cost him his life.”

Johnson was the son of Paul Johnson, lead pastor at South Delta Baptist Church.

The pastor and his family moved to Tsawwassen in 2007, joining the church in November after serving as a teaching pastor at Christ Community Church in Tucson, Arizona. One of six siblings, Taylor graduated from South Delta Secondary and was enrolled in the Advanced Music Production (AMP) program at the Nimbus School of Recording Arts in Vancouver at the time of his death. He was set to graduate in just a few weeks.

His family described him as a gentle young man who was trusting and caring of others.

After his son’s death, Paul Johnson said Taylor was “especially known for his gentle spirit” and was well liked by his peers at school and in the workplace. He described his as a typical young adult “working odd jobs to make ends meet.”

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