The murder of Modestan Karl Johnson in August 2008 was a family affair, according to a Modesto police detective's testimony Tuesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court.
It took a relative by marriage who admitted to being at the scene of the crime — George Willoughby Jr., who called two of the defendants "uncles" — to help police put it all together.
The accused in Johnson's murder are his wife, Carol Laverne Harris, 52, and her son Dasheme Hosley, 31. Another son, DeLeon Hosley, 29, is accused of being an accessory to the crime.
Modesto police detective Craig Grogan said Willoughby recalled a conversation with Dasheme Hosley, who told him that domestic violence was the motive for Johnson's death. Dasheme Hosley, according to the criminal complaint, is alleged to have shot Johnson.
He had been shot "because he slapped Mamma Carol," Grogan said.
Johnson also had a drug problem, according to testimony. Sometimes he went to the Bay Area for days on a drug binge, Willoughby told Grogan.
Tuesday was the start to what likely will be a lengthy hearing to determine if four defendants will stand trial.
Willoughby and defendant Desamona Crowder, who had a child with Dasheme Hosley, both admitted to being accessories to the crime. A sixth defendant, Alisia Brown, who also had a child with Dasheme Hosley, is fighting the accessory charge.
Officers were called to the house in the 2900 block of Lincoln Oak Drive, just south of Ustach Middle School, at 4:48 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2008, according to Modesto police. When they arrived, they found Karl Johnson, who had been shot once in the right side of his chest. He was taken to a Modesto hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Testimony will continue Thursday.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2337.