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Arrest made in connection with Echo Park pot dispensary slaying

September 17, 2010 |  6:54 pm

Los Angeles police have arrested a man in connection with the June slaying of an employee at a medical marijuana dispensary in Echo Park.

Authorities identified the suspect as Raymond Easter. He was arrested without incident Friday afternoon at a Van Nuys apartment by officials with the LAPD and the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Matthew Butcher, 27, was working at Higher Path Holistic Care in the 1300 block of West Sunset Boulevard on June 24 when four suspects entered looking for marijuana and cash.

Butcher and another employee were ordered to lay face-down on the ground and did not resist. Even so, both were shot; Butcher died from his injuries.

That attack took place the same day as the fatal stabbing of Ila Packman at the Hollywood Holistic II dispensary in the 1600 block of North El Centro Avenue. The Times has found at least eight slayings since 2007 that are linked to the medical marijuana industry.

Butcher was the son of Julie Butcher, a well-known L.A. labor leader. At the time of the slaying she described the crime as "totally senseless," saying that her son's job at the pot store was one of several jobs he was working to get by in a tough economy.

-- Andrew Blankstein

See a map of homicides tied to the medical marijuana industry since January 2007