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Mistrial declared in case of man accused in double homicide at bus stop

SAN DIEGO — A deadlocked jury prompted a judge to declare a mistrial Tuesday in the case of a man accused of gunning down a father and his adult son at a Golden Hill bus stop more than seven years ago.

Jurors voted 8-4 to convict Marlon Johnson of murdering 49-year-old Darryl Hunter and 30-year-old Keith Butler on Jan. 9, 2011.

No new trial date was set, but Johnson will be back in court next Tuesday. Superior Court Judge Runston Maino urged the 40-year-old defendant to try to settle the case with the District Attorney’s Office.

“If you get convicted (of murder), you’ll spend the rest of your life in prison,” the judge told the defendant.

Prosecutor Valerie Summers told the jury that the evidence against Johnson — including cigarette butts with his DNA on them, cell phone tower data and eyewitness accounts — was circumstantial, but should be enough to convict the defendant of the murders at the bus stop at the intersection of 30th and C streets.

Defense attorney Kevin Haughton said the lack of a murder weapon and eyewitness accounts that conflict with the prosecution’s theory of the case should result in an acquittal.

Haughton said Johnson was just one of many people near the scene when the victims were shot.

The victims had gone to Butler’s girlfriend’s apartment on the night they died. They visited with the woman for about an hour before Hunter decided to leave, and Butler left to accompany his father to the nearby bus stop, Summers said.

About 20 minutes later, Butler ran back into the apartment and told his girlfriend to call 911. He then collapsed, gravely wounded.

Johnson was identified early in the investigation as a potential suspect, but detectives did not have sufficient cause to charge him until 2016, when they said new evidence allegedly implicated him in the double homicide.