Mother follows Echo Park pot shop murder trial to its conclusion

Higher Path marijuana dispensary on the day Matthew Butcher was killed.

It was one of Echo Park’s most notorious crimes: the June 2010 robbery of an Echo Park pot shop that left a 27-year-old employee, Matthew Butcher, dead and a security guard seriously wounded.  The robbers  forced both men to lie face-down on the floor and then shot both as they ransacked the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary on Sunset Boulevard.  Earlier this week, a jury found Raymond Lemone Easter, 30, and Daniel Hinton, 35,  guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder. News of the investigation and trial have been chronicled by Butcher’s mother, Julie Butcher, a well-known Southern California labor activist, on Facebook, Twitter and email updates.

On Tuesday, in an update from the Matthew Butcher Memorial Foundation, Butcher posted this summary of her son’s trial:

I watched the jury every day. From the days they tried to get out of it through the tedious days of cell phone technology testimony (I object! This is boring!) Once they knew there was no getting out of it, these twelve men & women, plus four alternates, paid total attention to every bit of testimony and evidence. Finally after three weeks of trial, the jury decided quickly. Each of them called out loudly, proudly: “Guilty!”

I met them at the elevator, stopping the jurors to thank them, to hug them. One held me and murmured: It was our pleasure. Several others simply hugged back and sincerely told me they are sorry for my loss. Beautiful Juror #7 with the golden hair said yes when I asked if she’s a mom. Juror #8 bent his big bulk down for my hug as I told him he looks like Steven, Matthew’s “little” brother!

I want to buy the jurors drinks, thank them for doing the right thing.I promise to respond promptly to every jury duty notice I get from now on, in honor of the jury in Department 102!

Justice be served.

Easter and Hinton are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 14. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty in this case, said District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison. “That means that when the defendants return on Jan. 10 for sentencing, they will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.”


  1. I’m sorry for Ms. Butcher’s loss. And I appreciated hearing her thoughts on the jury service process. I recently served for LA County. Many in the jury pool attempted to get out of jury duty. The judge told us that people who are summoned for jury duty but don’t serve (often because they offer uncooperative and disingenuous responses to get out of it) find the whole experience a pain in the butt. But the people who actually qualify and serve find the experience rewarding. That proved true for me. It was true for my fellow jurors according to the conversations we had after the trial ended. Notwithstanding those few people who have legitimate personal demands on their time, I submit to everyone summoned that if you find yourself in the courtroom being questioned by the attorneys, be honest and live up to your own sense of integrity, rather than attempt to come up with ways to craft your responses so that you can duck out of jury duty. Not only will the system be better for it, but quite likely your life will be richer for the experience also.

  2. I don’t understand why the death penalty was not sought after?
    its seems needed for this case!

  3. Thank you, Eastsider, Jesus, for the care and the quality of your coverage of this family tragedy, our neighborhoods.

    It all worked. It all sucks & we miss Matthew, Mateo, every day. Nothing changes that. But it all worked: the cops never gave up (Detectives K & E rock!), folks we’ll never know provided info we’ll never know about, the DA kicked serious ass, the jurors — well, the jurors!

    Please join the families on Friday, January 10, 2014 for sentencing. There’s an opportunity for a victim impact statement at that time (thanks to the amazing efforts of victim advocates!) & we’d love to include community impacts as well (please feel free to send me your thoughts directly juliejbutcher@gmail.com) — (Many have shared beautiful stories about Matthew and I cherish every one) — probably a 9 or 10 AM start time on sentencing day.

    Thanks to all for the love and prayers and support — even a little bit of #JusticeforMateo is a beautiful thing!

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *