A San Carlos woman murdered her 14-year-old daughter and her spouse, then planted a gun next to his body and stayed in the family’s home with the bodies for several days without calling police, a prosecutor alleged Monday, but a defense attorney told a San Diego jury that the husband fired the shot that killed the teenager before the defendant shot him dead.
In her opening statement in the trial of 60-year-old Regina Johnson, Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney alleged that Johnson ambushed her daughter, Aaliyah, shooting her in the back of the head as she got dressed, then ambushed 56-year-old Reuben Johnson as he came into their daughter’s bedroom. He was shot in the side, then the head.
“Aaliyah was caught completely by surprise,” the prosecutor said. “Her mother came up behind her and executed her. Reuben Johnson was ambushed just like his daughter.”
Rooney said the crime occurred behind closed doors in the family’s condominium in the 7200 block of Navajo Road on May 30, 2012.
“(There was) no one there to stop the defendant from executing her plan,” the prosecutor told the jury.
Rooney said Regina Johnson didn’t call police and stayed with the decomposing bodies until concerned family members from Washington state made an emergency call for authorities to check on the family three days later.
The prosecutor said the defendant’s DNA was “all over the gun,” which was found next to her husband’s head, and her fingerprints were also found on the gun’s magazine.
The defendant also got rid of shell casings and pills she was taking for depression, according to Rooney, and used lipstick to write a message to her doctor on a bathroom mirror.
“You know I should not have been taking all those pills,” the message read.
Deputy Public Defender Neil Besse told the jury that the events of that day were something his client “never could have imagined.”
Regina Johnson was depressed over losing her job and not being able to dote over her daughter, according to her attorney.
The day of the shootings was picture day for Aaliyah at West Hills High School, where she was a freshman, and she had picked out a blue dress from her mother’s closet, Besse said.
That morning, Reuben Johnson returned from a doctor’s appointment and was upset that Aaliyah was still home, Besse told the jury.
Reuben Johnson blamed his daughter’s tardiness on her boyfriend, but the defendant came to the teen’s defense, according to Besse, who said the argument boiled over and Aaliyah left the room and returned with a gun, pointing it at her father.
“She said, `Stop yelling at me,”‘ Besse told the jury.
He said Reuben Johnson knocked the gun from his daughter’s hands and the weapon hit the floor, then a shot rang out, killing her on the spot.
The defense attorney said Regina Johnson picked up the gun and yelled at her husband, “What did you do? You shot my baby girl!” and then fired two shots, killing him.
Besse said his client covered her daughter’s body and stayed with her until police arrived three days later.
Johnson faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of two murder counts.
—City News Service
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