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.”