A Pasadena computer technician was sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison Monday for being the triggerman in what authorities called the contract killing of an Agoura Hills securities broker.
Marva DeCarlo Johnson, 31, pleaded guilty three months ago to first-degree murder in the slaying of John Collett, 29, outside a Northridge delicatessen on Oct. 28, 1991.
Witnesses to the killing said Johnson spoke to Collett for about 15 minutes before placing a headlock around the victim and pumping three bullets into the back of his head.
The plea-bargain agreement saw prosecutors drop special allegations which could have sent Johnson to the gas chamber.
"The killing was a paid hit," Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Dver wrote in court documents. But outside court, the prosecutor refused to speculate on who might have hired Johnson because no evidence related to an alleged mastermind was ever presented in the case.
Johnson admits to the killing, but refused to discuss the details of the case with county Probation Department officials because it is "confidential."
The firm where Collett worked, Parker Bryant Inc. of Los Angeles, was shut down by the state Department of Corporations in the spring of 1991 for allegedly defrauding thousands of investors in a telemarketing scheme.
Johnson's business associate testified at a preliminary hearing that hours after Collett was gunned down outside Brent's Deli, Johnson reported receiving a $30,000 payment for a job. Johnson displayed a stack of cash after reporting the day before that he was destitute, Michael Hadow said.