OCEANSIDE — A teen’s testimony March 5 linked a man accused in a murder for hire killing to clothing police believe was worn by the defendant and his companion when they gunned down a former minor league baseball player in Oceanside nearly two years ago.
As Marcus Rivera and his friend sat on a trail off of North Avenue in Oceanside smoking marijuana on the morning of March 22, 2007, he said two black males, one taller than the other, ran toward them. As they passed, Rivera said one of the males said, “Smoke up for me.”
Rivera, who identified Dominic Jerome Porter in court as the taller man, said he noticed the shorter man hand Porter a piece of clothing, which the defendant threw into the bushes minutes after passing him. Then he said the shorter man, who was limping, jumped on Porter’s back as he proceeded to jog away.
Following the encounter, Rivera and his friends flagged down an Oceanside police officer. Soon after, authorities found dark colored sweatshirts, pants and bandanas in the area around the trail.
In addition to identifying Porter in court, Rivera also testified he’d seen the defendant once before playing basketball at John Landes Park in Oceanside.
However, under cross-examination by Porter’s attorney, Kathleen Cannon, Rivera admitted that after contacting police he told the officer he didn’t see either man well enough to do a curbside lineup.
Prosecutors allege Porter, 23, and another man, Jonathan Johnson, 22, gunned down Kenya Hunt around 10 a.m. March 22, 2007, while he stood outside his house in the 4600 block of Lofty Grove Drive. A special circumstance allegation, lying in wait, is attached to the first-degree murder charge. Police believe the two men waited in nearby bushes until Hunt exited his house, which was located in a neighborhood between North and Olive avenues in East Oceanside.
Johnson told police that Porter came to him and said he was getting $50,000 to kill Hunt and that he’d give him half if he’d be a lookout, investigators testified at the preliminary hearing. He said they sat in bushes outside Hunt’s house and when he came out Porter shot the victim three times point-blank, according to previous court testimony.
Following the shooting, authorities spotted both men at a strip mall near Oceanside Boulevard and Temple Heights about a mile from Hunt’s residence. Porter was arrested immediately and Johnson, who fled, was apprehended soon after in a nearby residential neighborhood.
If convicted, Porter and Johnson face up to life in prison without parole.
They have both pleaded not guilty to the crime. Johnson’s trial is scheduled for May 12.
An Oceanside High School graduate, Hunt, 34, spent time with the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants minor league baseball clubs in the early 1990s. At the time of his death, he was the owner of a moving company.
Christopher Kisner, 22, who grew up one block from Hunt’s residence, said the victim was a mentor in their East Oceanside neighborhood. The night before the shooting, Kisner, who was in the neighborhood, said he saw two suspicious men coming from the bushes a few houses down from Hunt’s residence.
Kisner testified that the next morning he heard a couple of gunshots. He said when he arrived at Hunt’s house, he found him lying in his front yard partially on the sidewalk with a “pretty decent size hole in his head.” He also saw someone running down Lofty Grove Road.
However, like Rivera, Kisner had a least one discrepancy between his police statement at the crime scene and his court testimony. He admitted under cross-examination by Cannon that he never told authorities he saw someone leaving the scene.
Cannon contends the prosecution and police are assuming Porter was with Johnson at the time of the killing just because he was seen with Johnson following the shooting.
Prosecutors are expected to call more than 50 witnesses during the trial.