Two Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering Marijuana Clinic Employee

01/10/2014 1:08 pm0 commentsViews: 10

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Two men convicted of the execution-style shooting of
a medical marijuana clinic employee and the wounding of a security guard
after a robbery in Echo Park about 3 1/2 years ago were sentenced today to life
in prison without parole.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus imposed the terms on
Raymond Lemone Easter, 31, and Daniel Hinton, 35, who each maintained that they
were innocent of the June 24, 2010, killing of Matthew Butcher and the shooting
of Urban Jones Jr.
“There was absolutely no need to kill Matthew Butcher or to shoot Urban
Jones in the head,” the judge said.
“I am sorry for your loss for it did not have to happen,” the judge
told the victim’s family members. “When we have crimes like this, we usually
describe them as brutal and senseless. Of course, any murder is senseless, but
this one was so much more.”
Easter and Hinton were convicted Nov. 19 of first-degree murder for the
27-year-old man’s killing, along with the attempted murder of Jones, who
survived being shot in the head after the robbery at the Higher Path Holistic
Care Collective in the 1300 block of Crime Tape-0006
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation that the
murder occurred during the commission of a robbery, along with an allegation
that Easter personally discharged a gun during the crime.
Easter returned and shot both victims in the head as they lay face down
on the floor following the robbery in which the dispensary’s security cameras,
two computer towers containing patient records and thousands of dollars in cash
and marijuana were taken, according to authorities.
Just before being sentenced, the two contended that they had been
wrongly convicted.
“I stand in front of you as an innocent man,” Easter said, with the
judge retorting that the “evidence in this case seemed to be overwhelming to
Mr. Easter’s guilt.”
“We are innocent,” Hinton said, while noting that he extended his
sympathy to the victims and their families.
Easter and Hinton — who were both customers at the clinic — were
arrested later that year, authorities said.
Jones, who walks with a cane as a result of the shooting he survived,
called it a “cold-blooded, calculated killing.” He said outside court that he
feels “blessed” to still be alive.
Julie Butcher, who is the regional director of the Inland Area for
Service Employees International Union 721, called her son “a good man” who
worked at Higher Path “because he believed in the healing benefits of
marijuana.”
“Matt Butcher was 5’8” and weighed 135 pounds, dripping. He’d give you
the shirt off his back. There was no reason to kill him, there was no need to
kill him. It was senseless,” the victim’s mother said. “And so, in the name
of justice, we ask that these murderers never again walk among us, that they
never ever get the chance to kill another mother’s son.”
She said she misses her son every day.
After the hearing, Julie Butcher said she was thankful that “the jury
heard everything.”
“If there was any doubt in my mind that these were not the guys, we
would have been advocating for more investigation,” she said.

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