2 ex-cons charged with murder in killing of homeless shelter security guard

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SAN DIEGO -- Murder and other charges were filed Wednesday against two ex-cons accused in the shooting death of a security guard outside an East Village homeless shelter three days after Christmas.

Johnny Lee Hill, 40, and Floyd Garrett, 47, are charged with the Dec. 28 slaying of Ernest Lee Buchanan, a 44-year-old guard at the Alpha Project tent shelter at 1700 Imperial Ave.

Hill pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon and remains in custody in lieu of $10 million bail pending a Jan. 13 bail review hearing at the San Diego Central Courthouse.

Garrett was arrested in Phoenix and will remain in Arizona until he's extradited to San Diego, possibly next week.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Carberry alleged that surveillance footage and smart street lights captured the men waiting for Buchanan to arrive from a meal break before gunning him down in the street around 7:30 p.m., then fleeing the scene.

Both men allegedly opened fire on Buchanan, who was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to police and prosecutors.

In addition to video footage, Carberry said DNA left on items at the scene was matched to Hill.

A motive for the killing was not disclosed, nor did authorities reveal whether there was any relationship between the defendants and Buchanan.

Carberry said Hill and Garrett both have ties to San Diego street gangs and extensive criminal histories.

They both face life imprisonment if convicted of murder, assault with a semi-automatic firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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