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Man sentenced in Moorhead teen's beating death over drug dispute

Jonathan Hunt was sentenced to seven years in prison, a lighter sentence than his codefendant, Larry Evans, in connection to the death of 18-year-old Cameron Camacho. Stutsman County Judge Cherie Clark, who was sitting in for Cass County Judge Tom Olson for this case, said the fact Camacho died over marijuana was “particularly offensive to this court."

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Jonathan Hunt appears for a change of plea hearing in Cass County Court on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — The death of a Moorhead teenager after a fight over marijuana prices was "horrific and senseless," a judge said before sentencing a Fargo man involved in the killing to seven years in prison.

Jonathan Patrick Hunt, 33, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Aug. 31, in Cass County District Court to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and terrorizing. He is the last of two men to be sentenced in connection to the Aug. 4, 2020, assault that led to the death of 18-year-old Cameron Caleb Camacho the next day.

There is some dispute over what happened that day, according to attorneys. Camacho and an unidentified male called Joe Doe 1 went to 1102 Westrac Drive in Fargo to fight another unidentified male called Joe Doe 2 after an argument over marijuana prices, according to an incident report. A fight broke out in the driveway of the apartment complex, court documents said.

A criminal complaint alleged Hunt brought a baseball bat outside as he and Larry Darnell Evans, 26, of Fargo, responded to calls for help from Joe Does 2 and 3, who are Evans’ brothers, according to prosecutors. However, prosecutor Derek Steiner said it is unclear whether Hunt or someone else brought the bat to the fight.

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Cameron Camacho
Cameron Camacho

During a previous hearing, attorneys disagreed over whether the fight was over or ongoing when Hunt and Evans came outside. It’s also unclear whether Hunt hit Camacho, or if the bat or mallet Camacho brought to the apartment contributed to the teen’s death.

What is known is that Hunt broke the windows of a pickup to which Camacho fled, prosecutors said. Evans punched Camacho several times, while Hunt assaulted Doe 1 with the bat, according to court documents.

Hunt was booked into the Cass County Jail on Aug. 5, 2020, but Evans fled the scene before he was arrested Aug. 10, 2020, in Wahpeton, N.D.

The two men initially faced life in prison since Evans was initially charged with murder and Hunt with conspiracy to murder. However, the charges were downgraded after prosecutors discovered the case was not as straightforward as initially thought.

Evans eventually pleaded guilty to felony charges of manslaughter and terrorizing and was sentenced Aug. 16 to nine years in prison.

Camacho’s family was in the courtroom on Tuesday but declined to make a statement in court. His mother, Michelle Carlson, made an emotional and lengthy plea to a judge for Evans’ to receive a harsh prison term when he was sentenced.

Family members didn't deny that Camacho made bad decisions, but he still deserved justice, Steiner said. They understood the recommended sentence for Hunt but felt he deserved more time, the prosecutor added.

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Hunt was previously convicted of several misdemeanors in Wisconsin before coming to North Dakota several years ago, Steiner said. The prosecutor acknowledged that Hunt cooperated with police, which was cited as a reason for the lesser sentence.

Hunt is a father of seven who wants to move on and change, his defense attorney Stormy Vickers said. The lawyer noted Hunt has no felony convictions.

Hunt’s involvement in the incident was part of unfortunate circumstances, Vickers said in noting Hunt was Evans' brother-in-law. Vickers claimed Camacho and Doe 1 went to the apartment to rob someone of marijuana.

Hunt apologized to the Camacho family.

“I take full responsibility for my own actions,” he said.

Stutsman County Judge Cherie Clark, who was sitting in for Cass County Judge Tom Olson for this case, said the fact Camacho died over marijuana was “particularly offensive to this court." She said she would begrudgingly accept the joint sentencing recommendation of seven years in prison.

“Even if the victim came to rob your family member of marijuana, give him the marijuana,” she said. “It’s not worth a life."

Hunt has one year and 28 days credit for time served.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSFARGO
April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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