SANTA ANA — Prosecutors announced today that they will seek the death penalty against a white supremacist gang member who gave up his right to remain silent when he testified on behalf of two friends and incriminated himself in a murder.
Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said that without Billy Joe Johnson’s testimony, there would not have been enough corroborating evidence to charge him with the shooting death of Scott Miller on March 8, 2002.
Now, not only is Johnson accused of Miller’s murder, he also could face execution by lethal injection if he is convicted.
Miller was one of the founders of Public Enemy Number One, a white supremacist gang with roots in Huntington Beach. Baytieh argued in a trial this summer for two of Johnson’s friends that Miller was targeted for death for violating an unwritten code by appearing on a television news show and revealing secrets about the gang.
Johnson, 45, testified for the defense in the trial of gang affiliates Michael Allen Lamb, 33, and Jacob Anthony Rump, 31, who were accused of putting a bullet into Miller’s brain in a darkened alley in Anaheim
Johnson — who is serving 45 years in prison on a separate gang-related murder — testified before a packed courtroom in June that he was alone when he “reached into my waistband, grabbed my gun and blasted him.”
Baytieh said he will argue that Johnson’s testimony put him at the scene of the murder.
The prosecutor said he will also argue that Johnson was lying in order to protect Lamb and Rump in that part of his testimony when he claimed that he acted alone.
Baytieh also filed the special circumstances against Johnson today of lying in wait, committing multiple murders, and committing murder for the benefit of a gang, all of which qualify Johnson for a possible death sentence.
Lamb and Rump were both convicted of first-degree murder despite Johnson’s testimony.
Lamb faces a second death penalty trial later in February after the jury in the first trial deadlocked. Rump was sentenced to life without parole.