OCEANSIDE — A 23-year-old man was convicted March 25 of murdering a former minor league baseball player outside his Oceanside home two years ago.
After four days of deliberation, a jury found Dominic Jerome Porter guilty of the first-degree murder of Kenya Hunt. However, the panel was deadlocked 10-2 on the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait and 8-4 on a firearm allegation.
Porter faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced May 15.
Prosecutors allege Porter and Jonathan Johnson, 22, murdered Hunt, 34, outside his house in the 4600 block of Lofty Grove Drive around 10 a.m. March 22, 2007, and then changed their clothing as they ran on a network of trails through the East Oceanside neighborhood.
Two teens, who had been smoking marijuana on one of the trails, tipped off police minutes after seeing two suspicious men run by them and throw something in the bushes. One of the teens identified Porter in court as one of those men. When police searched the area, they found clothing and ski masks that included both defendants’ DNA, as well as a revolver firearm that Porter’s DNA was included on.
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.
Johnson’s trial is scheduled for May 1. He is charged with first-degree murder and the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.
Following his arrest, Johnson told police Porter came to him and said he was getting $50,000 to kill Hunt and that he would give him half if he would be a lookout, authorities testified at the preliminary hearing. He said they sat in bushes outside Hunt’s house and when he came out Porter shot the victim point-blank, according to previous court testimony.
Throughout the trial, Porter’s attorney, Kathleen Cannon, argued that the prosecution and police are assuming Porter was with Johnson at the time of the killing just because he was seen with him following the shooting. There was no positive identification of her client being at the crime scene, she said.
Cannon was not immediately available to comment on the verdict.
Hunt, an Oceanside High School graduate, 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.
His father, Charles Hunt, who paced the hallway outside the courtroom following the verdict, said it was difficult looking at Porter in the courtroom knowing he killed his oldest son.
“To be truthful, I wanted to jump over that damn table and rip his damn head off,” Charles Hunt said. “But I got to hold my composure, (Kenya) wouldn’t want me to do that and God wouldn’t want me to do that.”
Charles Hunt said he was happy justice prevailed, but still deeply saddened by the tragedy. He said he still doesn’t understand why his son was marked for death.
“I cry,” Charles Hunt said. “I’ve been crying for two years for my son.”