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O.C. man sentenced in beating death of 77-year-old handyman

August 22, 2012 |  6:14 pm

A Huntington Beach man was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison for the beating of a 77-year-old man that left the World War II veteran in a coma for more than three years until he finally died from his injuries.

John Kirk McKinney, 30, was found guilty in May of one count of second-degree murder for his role in robbing and attacking Cecil Warren in a Huntington Beach bank parking lot in the early morning hours of Nov. 11, 2003, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office. 

Warren, a handyman, was cleaning the bank's parking lot when he noticed McKinney and another man near his van. After Warren approached the two men, they demanded money, then hit and kicked Warren. They took his wallet and fled the scene.

Warren was found a half-hour later by a pedestrian, bleeding and moaning. Warren gave police a brief description of the men before losing consciousness, prosecutors said.

He was taken to a hospital, where he remained in a coma for three and a half years. 

McKinney was previously found guilty in 2006 of a felony count of second-degree robbery and a felony count of aggravated assault. He was sentenced in February 2007 to four years in state prison. His partner, Curtis James Hill, 29, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October 2006 to nine years in state prison for a felony count of second-degree robbery and a felony count of aggravated assault. 

Warren died Sept. 22, 2007; he was 81.

After his death, McKinney and Hill were charged with murder in September 2009. At the time, both men were serving prison sentences for the assault and robbery convictions. 

Hill was found guilty by a jury in November 2011 of one felony count of murder in the commission of a robbery, prosecutors said. He was sentenced in December 2011 to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.


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-- Rick Rojas