|For Immediate Release
Case # 09CF1955
September 17, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
TWO MEN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDERING WWII VETERAN THREE YEARS AFTER BEATING HIM INTO A COMA ON VETERANS DAY
*Defendants currently serving prison sentences for assault and robbery convictions stemming from same attack
SANTA ANA – Two men will be arraigned tomorrow for murdering a WWII veteran after the victim they put into a coma for over three years died of the injuries sustained in a 2003 attack. The two defendants are currently serving prison sentences for assault and robbery convictions stemming from the same attack, which occurred on Veterans Day. John Kirk McKinney, 27, and Curtis James Hill, 27, both of Huntington Beach, are charged with one felony count each of special circumstances murder committed in the commission of a robbery. If convicted, both defendants face a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The defendants, who were both transported from state prison for arraignment in this case, are not eligible for bail. McKinney and Hill are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
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. 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 9-1-1. 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.
On Oct. 10, 2006, Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced 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).
On Nov. 15, 2006, McKinney was found guilty by a jury 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 are accused of causing the head injuries that resulted in the victim’s death.
The defendants, who are serving the remainder of their sentences from their assault and robbery convictions, were charged with murder on Sept. 4, 2009.