Life sentence handed down for killing of O’side businessman

OCEANSIDE — The family of a former minor league baseball player gunned down in what prosecutors believe was a hired killing got their day in court recently at the murderers’ sentencing hearings.
During two separate days, family members of Kenya “Yanni” Hunt, which included his mother and younger sister, addressed the court and the two defendants — Dominic Jerome Porter and Jonathan Johnson — as well as played a short film composed of pictures of Hunt with his family.
“You can never imagine what you’ve taken from our family,” Ashonda Brooks, the victim’s younger sister, said. Brooks, who called the act a “gutless attack,” said she forgave the defendants, who both knew and seemingly admired Hunt, but hoped they would never make parole.
“I pray to God you can never walk the streets in this lifetime,” Brooks said.
Porter was sentenced June 4 — two days after his 24th birthday — while the 23-year-old Johnson’s hearing was June 9. Both men received 25 years to life in prison for the murder of Hunt outside his house in the 4600 block of Lofty Grove Drive around 10 a.m. March 22, 2007.
Hunt, 34, played football and baseball at Oceanside High School. In the early 1990s, he spent time with the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants minor league baseball clubs. At the time of his death, he was the owner of Oceanside-based Black Mountain Moving Company.
In March, a jury convicted Porter of first-degree murder. A couple of weeks later, Johnson pleaded guilty to the same charge. Prosecutors dropped the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait and the firearm allegation for both defendants after a jury deadlocked on the two allegations at Porter’s trial.
The murder-for-hire allegation was also dropped from both defendants’ criminal complaints prior to the start of Porter’s trial due to a lack of evidence, Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed said in a phone interview.
Johnson had told police someone by the name of “Big Homie” had offered Porter $50,000 to kill Hunt. Peed said he believed the shooting by the two defendants was a contract killing; however, he said the motive is still not clear.
The murder came a month after Hunt and another man were injured during a drive-by shooting near Hunt’s home. At the time of the slaying, Hunt was using a cane to walk and was talking on his cell phone. Moments before the attack, he had accompanied his wife and their then-5-year-old son to their vehicle.
By all accounts, Hunt, an Oceanside resident for 23 years, was a hardworking family man and a positive role model in the community.
Brooks said she’ll never forget what the defendants did to her family, especially her nephew. She said it’s heartbreaking to hear Hunt’s son say he would like to catch the swine flu so he could die and be with his father or, “All I want for Christmas is to see my daddy.”

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