Jury Gives Death Penalty to Killer of KTVU Photographer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    California's prison palace San Quentin is getting an upgrade even as residents probably wouldn't mind a few folks moving there from Sacremento Capitol buildings.

    A jury has recommended the death penalty for a man convicted of killing two people, including a Bay Area journalist.

    Aaron Dunn was convicted of first-degree murder in April in the 2006 deaths of Michael Daley and Jonny Johnson.

    Johnson was a photographer for the Sacramento Kings and KTVU Television in Oakland.

    His relatives, as well as Daley's loved ones, held hands as the verdict was about to be read Wednesday.

    Dunn drank a sip of water and showed no emotion as the verdict was read by a clerk; family and friends of the victims gasped when they heard the recommendation.

    Karen Johnson, Jon Johnson's wife, said Wednesday was a sad day for her.  She said the jury's call was bittersweet.

    "I've wrestled back and forth with the death penalty. I wanted justice to be served in the case of my husband and Michael Daly, and I believe that happened, but again, another man is going to die," Karen Johnson said.   She and her husband were walking out from a restaurant when Dunn approached them and shot Jonny Johnson in the face.  Dunn was then seen on a surveillance camera holding the gun over his head and celebrating.

    "It was the most difficult choice I've ever had to make," juror Jace Whitman said outside of court.

    Whitman said he came to his decision because of the severity of the crimes and the effect on the victims' families.

    Amy Rogers, Dunn's attorney, said her client was a working man and treated his family well. Rogers said Dunn's marriage fell apart in 2005. She said he became depressed and started using methamphetamine and alcohol.

    Rogers said Dunn became paranoid and delusional, adding that a week or so before the shooting his drug use was "out of control."

    A prosecutor told jurors that on the night of March 25, 2006, Dunn called his estranged wife and left his phone on as it went to her voicemail.

    Prosecutors played the recording. On it, jurors heard Lynyrd Skynyrd blaring on the radio, and Dunn allegedly yelling, "yee-haw." They also heard sirens, a shotgun being loaded and fired, and eventually the sounds of police shooting back.

    Formal sentencing for Dunn will take place July 6. Statements from the victims' families may read in court at that time.

    KCRA.com contributed to this report.