LOS ANGELES – A state appellate court panel on Thursday upheld a man’s conviction for murdering the owner of a computer store in Lancaster during a March 2012 robbery.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that a judge in Lancaster had erred by doubling Timothy Jerode Johnson‘s sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole to two life prison terms without parole in October 2014 because of his prior strike for robbery in 2008.
The justices also turned down the defense’s claim that the trial court had erred in giving jurors an instruction about the testimony of Jinea Aarona Ingram, who drove Johnson away from e-Chaps Computer store after the March 23, 2012, shooting death of Reed Keith.
Johnson was convicted in August 2014 of first-degree murder for the killing. Jurors found true the special circumstance allegation that the 59-year- old victim was murdered during the commission of a robbery.
Johnson was also convicted of two counts of second-degree robbery involving the store owner and another person who was eventually able to escape from the store.
The victim argued with Johnson and did not cooperate with his demand to drop to the floor, the justices noted in a nine-page ruling.
“When the owner still did not comply, defendant shot him twice; said, ‘You didn’t think I’d shoot you, did you?; and shot him two more times,” according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
A subsequent search of Johnson’s house turned up a wallet containing items in the store owner’s name, nine laptop computers with e-Chaps work orders and a pair of shoes with bloodstains, the justices noted.
Ingram — who had been charged with murder, along with Johnson — pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 21 years in state prison.
Previous related stories: