San Diego

Mom ‘Hunted' Down Daughter, Husband in Double Killing: Prosecutors

Regina Johnson is accused of ambushing and killing her daughter and husband

A San Diego woman "hunted" down and ambushed her husband and daughter, killing them execution-style in a double homicide, prosecutors alleged in the woman's trial, which continued Thursday.

"Evidence shows she hunted him down," Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney said. "She walked from her first shot through Aaliyah's room around the corner followed him as he retreated, stood over him and executed him."

Regina Johnson, 60, is accused of ambushing and killing her daughter and husband. She remained in the apartment with their bodies for three days without ever calling the police, prosecutors said.

She testified Tuesday that her slain husband shot their daughter when the teenager stepped between them during a fight.

She admitted to killing her 56-year-old spouse, Reuben Johnson, on the morning of May 30, 2012. However, the defendant testified she was not responsible for the death of her 14-year-old daughter, Aaliyah. 

Johnson testified that after her husband killed Aaliyah, she picked up the gun from the ground and fired, fearing he might shoot her next.

But prosecutors said Thursday that the blood evidence and positioning of the victims' bodies proved that Johnson killed her husband, Ruben, and daughter, Aaliyah.

Defense attorney Neil Besse told the jury that Johnson was depressed over losing her job and not being able to dote over her daughter. Rooney added that Johnson was paranoid and afraid she was going to lose her husband, who had been cheating on her for years.

The defense argued Johnson had no motive to kill her daughter.

"Her daughter is the shining light at the end of the tunnel which is her depression," Defense Attorney Neil Besse said. "This depression is not aimed at Aaliyah."

They said she spent lots of money on various expenses for Aaliyah before the shooting.

"There's no way Regina Johnson could kill her daughter," Besse added. "She loved her too much."

Johnson told police that she put a blanket over her daughter's body and slept next to it for several days in their San Carlos condo before telling her sister-in-law about the deaths.

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.

Johnson faces 100 years to life in prison if convicted of two murder counts.

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