Thirty-year-old John Kirk McKinney was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for killing a World War II veteran on Veterans Day.
The Huntington Beach resident was awaiting his release from prison for attempting to murder Cecil "Lucky" Warren, who'd been in a coma three years since his 2003 beating when he died. Coroner's officials blamed his injuries on the attack, and murder charges were then filed against McKinney and a partner who was also behind bars on the attempted-murder rap.
Warren was a 77-year-old handyman cleaning up around a Huntington Beach bank parking lot the morning of Nov. 11, 2003, when he spotted McKinney and Curtis James Hill inside his van parked there.
When Warren asked the burglars 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 and called 9-1-1. Warren 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 before he died.
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.
He was awaiting a scheduled Aug. 12, 2011, release from prison when by then 81-year-old Warren died on Sept. 22, 2007. Murder charges were then filed against Hill, and a jury on Nov. 1, 2011, found the Huntington Beach 29-year-old guilty of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery. Hill was later sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
McKinney was found guilty by a jury on 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 He was sentenced on Feb. 2, 2007, to four years in state prison.
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He was awaiting a scheduled Sept. 1, 2009, release from prison, but after Warren's death murder counts were also filed against McKinney. A jury in May found the Huntington Beach thief guilty on one count of second-degree murder.
Oh, that re-filing against McKinney? It was three days before his scheduled release on the attempted murder.