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Two convicted in 2010 marijuana shop murder

Jury finds two men guilty of first-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of Matthew Butcher inside a marijuana dispensary in Echo Park.

November 22, 2013|By Nicole Santa Cruz
  • Julie Butcher gets a hug during a 2010 news conference announcing a reward for information on the slaying of her son Matthew. Two men were convicted of the killing this week.
Julie Butcher gets a hug during a 2010 news conference announcing a reward… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

The fact that his brother was killed in a robbery — over marijuana — is something Steven Butcher can't seem to wrap his mind around. There's a possibility he never will.

But this week may have been a step forward as Butcher, 23, received a one-word text from his mother about the 2010 execution-style killing of his brother Matthew Butcher: Guilty.

Daniel Deshawn Hinton, 31, and Raymond Lemone Easter, 27, were found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder and premeditated attempted murder with special circumstances, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Hinton and Easter could be sentenced Jan. 10 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On June 24, 2010, 27-year-old Matthew Butcher was working at Higher Path Holistic Care about 4:15 p.m. when four people entered. At gunpoint, they ordered Butcher and a security guard to lie face down on the ground as they ransacked the dispensary for marijuana and money, according to an account given to police by the guard, who survived.

Though Butcher and the guard did not resist, the attackers shot them, then removed the videotape from the shop's surveillance system. The Times has inquired about the status of other suspects. District attorney's officials said they have no information on them and police officials did not respond.

The slaying came hours before another killing at a marijuana dispensary five miles away. Ila Ali Packman, 39, was found dead from an apparent stabbing inside Hollywood Holistic II on North El Centro Avenue. The killings were unrelated but ignited fear among medical marijuana advocates.

Steven Butcher said the weeks-long trial was difficult for his family.

"It was tough being in the same room as those guys, looking at them," he said.

Butcher attended most of the trial and heard testimony from various people, including detectives, the coroner and the security guard who was shot and crawled through glass to get out of the store alive.

Butcher said the conviction will not necessarily bring closure because his brother — described as a laid-back computer geek — is still gone.

"It forever changed our family," Butcher said. "Things will never be the same."

His mother, Julie Butcher, a well-known labor leader, said in a newsletter for the nonprofit Matt Butcher Memorial Foundation that she watched the jury every day.

She said after the trial a juror held her and said, "It was our pleasure."

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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