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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | OXNARD

Testimony Concludes in McKinzie Case

May 15, 1999|TRACY WILSON

Testimony in the penalty-phase retrial of convicted killer Kenneth McKinzie concluded Friday.

McKinzie, 39, was convicted in October of murder and other charges in the 1995 slaying of 73-year-old Ruth Avril. The Oxnard woman was beaten and strangled during an attempted robbery.

Although the jury convicted McKinzie of murder with special circumstances, making him eligible for the death penalty, the panel could not agree on whether he should be executed or sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A mistrial was declared in November and prosecutors decided to seek the death penalty a second time.

For the past two weeks prosecutors presented evidence to show the brutality of Avril's slaying while the defense made a case for leniency. McKinzie testified Thursday and admitted he was responsible for Avril's death.

He said he felt "filthy" for what he did and is prepared to accept whatever punishment the jury recommends.

Prosecutors concluded their cross-examination on Friday.

They declined to call rebuttal witnesses. Closing arguments begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday before Judge Vincent J. O'Neill Jr. in Ventura County Superior Court.

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