Curtis James Hill was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the Veterans Day 2003 beating-murder of a WWII veteran who was left in a coma and died more than three years later.
A jury last month found the Huntington Beach 29-year-old guilty of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery for the attack on 81-year-old Cecil "Lucky" Warren.
Hill's accused partner in crime, 29-year-old John Kirk McKinney of Huntington Beach, is scheduled to go before his own Santa Ana jury on Feb. 27. He is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery and also faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
McKinney and Hill were scheduled to be released from prison after being convicted of robbing and assaulting Warren when the Orange County District Attorney's office filed murder charges that kept the pair locked up.
Warren was 77 and working as a handyman cleaning up around a Huntington Beach bank parking lot the morning of Nov. 11, 2003, when he spotted Hill and another man police and prosecutors later identified as McKinney inside Warren's van parked there. When Warren asked them what they were doing in his van, they responded by hitting and kicking him in the head, stealing his wallet with $50 inside and leaving him moaning on the ground.
A half hour later or so, a passerby found a bleeding Warren, who was able to give police a brief description of his attackers before losing consciousness. He was taken to a hospital and spent the next three and a half years in a coma and on life support.
Hill pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced on Oct. 10, 2006, to nine years in state prison. After being found guilty by a jury, McKinney was sentenced on Feb. 2, 2007, to four years in state prison. Then Warren died on Sept. 22, 2007, without ever coming out of the coma.
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On the grounds that Hill and McKinney caused the injuries that killed Warren, prosecutors charged the pair with murder on Sept. 4, 2009.
McKinney had been set to be released from prison just three days later.