The following information was released by the Orange County District Attorney. Emphasis added.
A man was convicted today of the beating-murder of a 77-year-old handyman. The victim was left in a coma for over three years until he died as a direct result of his injuries sustained in the 2003 attack. John Kirk McKinney, 30, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second degree murder and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing June 15, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Curtis James Hill, 29, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 1, 2011, of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery. Hill was sentenced Dec. 16, 2011, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
At approximately 4:45 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2003, McKinney and Hill entered the parked van of 77-year-old Cecil Warren. The victim, who was working as a handyman cleaning the Huntington Beach bank parking lot where his van was parked, noticed the defendants in his van. When Warren asked Hill and McKinney what they were doing, the defendants attacked the victim. The defendants hit and kicked Warren in the head, robbed him of his wallet, and left the victim on the ground before fleeing the scene.
Approximately 30 minutes later, a pedestrian found Warren bleeding and moaning on the ground in the parking lot and called 911. The victim gave police a brief description of the two defendants before losing consciousness. Warren was transported to the hospital, where he spent the next three and a half years in a coma.
For this crime, Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced Oct. 10, 2006, to nine years in state prison for one felony count of second degree robbery, one felony count of aggravated assault, and admitted to sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury to an elder and committing a crime against a vulnerable victim (Case #03WF2996).
McKinney was found guilty by a jury Nov. 15, 2006, of one felony count of second degree robbery and one felony count of aggravated assault. The sentencing enhancement for committing a crime against a vulnerable victim was found true (Case #03WF2996). He was sentenced on Feb. 2, 2007, to four years in state prison.
After spending more than three and a half years on life support in a coma, 81-year-old Warren died on Sept. 22, 2007. The defendants directly caused the head injuries that resulted in the victim’s death.
Hill and McKinney were charged with murder on Sept. 4, 2009. At the time, both defendants were serving prison sentences for the assault and robbery convictions stemming from the same attack. Prior to being charged with murder, Hill was set to be released from prison on Aug. 12, 2011, and McKinney was scheduled to be released on Sept. 1, 2009.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Courtesy graphic from the office of the Orange County District Attorney.
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