Tearful testimony in bus stop murder trial

Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 18:35:17-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The girlfriend of a man shot at a Golden Hill bus stop in 2011 described his last minutes spent alive, in tearful testimony Wednesday.

Marlon Johnson, 40, is charged with killing Darryl Hunter, 49, and his son Keith Butler, 30, on Jan. 9, 2011 at the intersection of 30th and C streets.

Butler's girlfriend, Stacie Singleton, and Butler had a child together, and Singleton was 10-weeks pregnant with their second. She testified against Johnson Wednesday, the second day of his double murder trial.

Hunter and Butler had gone to Singleton's apartment that night to visit with the baby, and reconcile with Butler after some relationship troubles, she testified.

"He apologized," she said. "He wanted to try to make it work for our family."

Butler left Singleton's apartment briefly to walk his father to the bus stop, where they were both shot.

Singleton described seeing the two men through her window waiting at the stop. She looked again after hearing gunshots and said she was filled with terror when she could no longer them.

Her boyfriend, who was not armed, burst back into Singleton's apartment, she testified.

"He was holding his chest or shoulder and he said 'call 911,"' Singleton said.

Butler went into the kitchen where Singleton was cooking dinner, turned back around and collapsed in the front doorway. His eyes were wide open but he couldn't speak, she said.

"At that moment it just felt like tunnel vision," she said. "I was just so scared."

Singleton testified that neither man knew Johnson.

The jury on Tuesday heard details of Hunter's last moments from a nurse practitioner who heard gunshots while breastfeeding her newborn. She saw Hunter lying on the sidewalk from her bedroom, and rushed to the street to aid the dying man.

Hunter was shot four times, Summers said.

"I was looking for bullet holes to slow down the bleeding, but there was just too many to cover," Tiffany Holm said. "I was trying to give him reassurance that help was coming."

Evidence in the case is largely circumstantial and the prosecution plans to rely on a web of witnesses and forensic data to make the case that Johnson committed the murders, Deputy District Attorney Valerie Summers said.

Defense attorney Kevin Haughton said the lack of murder weapon and scientific evidence should lead the jury to exonerate Johnson.

Johnson was identified by authorities early on in the investigation as a potential suspect. But he was always "one step ahead" of law enforcement and avoided being interviewed after the shooting and moved out-of-state, Summers said.

Detectives did not have sufficient cause to charge him until 2016, when they said new evidence allegedly implicated him in the double killing and obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was arrested that July in Maumelle, Arkansas.