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'No reason for anyone to die over marijuana,' mother of slain pot dispensary worker says

June 25, 2010 |  1:04 pm

Me.pot-photoA medical marijuana dispensary employee killed Thursday during a robbery at the Echo Park store is the son of a well-known L.A. labor leader, Julie Butcher.

Matt Butcher's mother described the killing as "totally senseless," saying her son was simply trying to cobble together part-time jobs in a tough economy.

"He was one of the most peaceful people," said Julie Butcher, who works as a regional director of the Service Employees International Union Local 721. "He would have given them anything they wanted. There's no reason for anyone to die over marijuana."

Butcher, 27, was one of two pot dispensary workers killed Thursday.

The first robbery occurred at 4:15 p.m. on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. In that incident, an unknown number of suspects stormed into the Higher Patch Holistic Care store at 1302 Sunset Blvd. Butcher was killed and another employee was left wounded.

The second robbery happened a few miles away at 9:15 p.m. at the Hollywood Holistic store on the 1600 block of North El Centro Avenue. One employee was slain in that incident.

The killings come as Los Angeles authorities are in the process of cracking down on pot businesses, resulting in the closure of dozens of the outlets.

-- David Zahniser and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Police gather evidence at the scene of the Echo Park shooting. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times