The fiancee of a VIA bus driver whose bullet-riddled body was found in an East Side cemetery believes he was killed for the payout that would come from his life insurance policy.
As Samuel Allen Johnson Jr.'s relatives surrounded her, an emotional Erica Hinton, 27, declined Friday to elaborate on the crime, only saying her fiance “died protecting his son.”
“I can't put a dollar amount on what Sam was to me or what we he was to his child,” Hinton said. “I pray for anyone who would do that.”
Authorities accused Johnson's ex-girlfriend and her sister's boyfriend of trying to benefit from his death.
On Thursday, police charged Vanessa Cameron, 29, and Bernard Antoine Brown, 23, with capital murder. They were being held in Bexar County Jail on $1 million bond each.
Cameron, the mother of Johnson's first child, was the one who sought to have him killed and provided the money to pay for the gun, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Johnson, 26, was eventually lured to Cameron's house on Jan. 13, where police said Brown attacked him and shot him multiple times, the affidavit states. Police said Cameron left town the day before the slaying to visit a friend but was kept up to date on the crime.
Johnson's body was found four days later, on Jan. 17, in the cemetery in the 1700 block of East Commerce Street.
Johnson, a former Bexar County sheriff's deputy, was planning to enroll at St. Mary's Law School, where he had a full scholarship, his family said. He was engaged to be married in May and was expecting his first child with Hinton.
Hinton said the birth of Johnson's son in 2008 with Cameron had given his life focus.
“He loved that little boy, and that's what he lived for,” Hinton said. “That's why he wanted to go ahead with his degree, so he could be a best father possible for his son. He had plans.”
On the day he was killed, Johnson told his fiancee he was going to Cameron's house to pick up money he was owed, the arrest affidavit states.
After he arrived at the house, Johnson's feet were tied, his hands cuffed and tape was placed over his mouth. At some point, Johnson was hit on the head with a piece of wood, according to the affidavit.
His attackers then put him in the trunk of his Dodge Stratus and drove him to Seguin in Guadalupe County, where Brown allegedly shot him multiple times, the affidavit states. Johnson's body was driven back to San Antonio and abandoned on the East Side along with the car.
The affidavit doesn't state how the body ended up in the cemetery, but that the car was found Tuesday in the 100 block of Cosgrove Street on the Southeast Side.
Police checked the license plates on Johnson's abandoned car on two separate occasions, the affidavit states. The vehicle was on private property, and the checks revealed no criminal activity, giving officers no reason to check inside, said Sgt. Chris Benavides, a spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department.
Benavides declined to say if Johnson's body may have been in the car when officers checked it. He said the case still was under investigation.
Johnson's family said their easygoing son's only mistake was being too trusting with people who eventually took advantage of him.
“He was the bright light, he was my first,” said his father Samuel Johnson Sr. “The people who did this, they don't know but they hurt a lot of people.”