Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR VETERANS DAY
ROBBERY-MURDER OF WWII VETERAN
*Defendant and co-defendant left victim in a coma for three years and were charged with murder after the victim’s death
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for the beating-murder of a WWII veteran during a robbery on Veterans Day. 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. Curtis James Hill, 29, Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery and faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011, in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Co-defendant John Kirk McKinney, 29, Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery and faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. McKinney will be tried separately to Hill and his jury trial date is to be determined.
At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2003, McKinney and Hill are accused of entering the parked van of 77-year-old Cecil Warren, a WWII veteran, with the intention of stealing items from inside. 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 are accused of attacking the victim. The defendants are accused of hitting and kicking Warren in the head, robbing him of his wallet, and leaving 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.