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Vanessa Cameron on trial in ex-boyfriend's slaying -- again

Prosecutors allege Samuel Johnson killed in scam to collect life insurance

SAN ANTONIO – In a surprise move, neither the prosecution nor the defense made opening remarks Tuesday as Vanessa Cameron's second murder trial began.

Cameron is accused of killing Samuel Johnson in 2010. She was found guilty in 2012 and sentenced to 70 years in prison, but her conviction was overturned on a technicality and a new trial was ordered.

The defendant was Johnson's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his 1-year-old son.

The first witness for the prosecution was Erica Hinton, who was the girlfriend of Johnson at the time he was killed.

Hinton recalled the last time she saw Johnson was the evening of Jan. 13, 2010, when he left their home to pick up money from Cameron's sister.

"I strongly suggested for him not to get the money," Hinton testified. "I argued with him about that."

Hinton testified that when Johnson hadn't returned by the following morning, she worried "that something went wrong."

Four days later, Johnson's body was found lying in a cemetery on the city's East Side.

Prosecutors allege Johnson was killed in a murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated by Cameron to collect life insurance money.

If Cameron is found guilty, she could face a sentence of five to 99 years to life in prison.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday in Judge Velia Meza's 226th District Court.


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