McKenzie pleads guilty
A 23-year-old Dickinson man accused of assaulting a 72-year-old man in March pleaded guilty at a pretrial conference Tuesday. The victim of the assault was a Dickinson cab driver, who was reportedly beaten and kicked. Authorities later arrested M...
A 23-year-old Dickinson man accused of assaulting a 72-year-old man in March pleaded guilty at a pretrial conference Tuesday.
The victim of the assault was a Dickinson cab driver, who was reportedly beaten and kicked. Authorities later arrested Monty McKenzie after he fled the scene. McKenzie entered an open plea, meaning he did not accept a plea agreement in exchange for his plea of guilty.
"Normally I wouldn't even consider doing this, but in this case ... it seems like this is his best option," Jay Greenwood, McKenzie's attorney, said at the hearing.
Greenwood declined to comment about the open plea after the hearing. Hope would not comment about plea negotiations discussed before the hearing.
McKenzie is charged with aggravated assault and could face a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
At the hearing, Greenwood said McKenzie was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the beating.
"Mr. McKenzie is going to have a hard time recounting exactly what happened. Essentially, he was very intoxicated," Greenwood said. "... he doesn't necessarily know exactly what happened."
McKenzie said he vaguely remembered the evening the beating took place.
"There was a disagreement apparently about whether Mr. McKenzie wanted a cab or had money for a cab," Jim Hope, Stark County assistant state's attorney said.
McKenzie then reportedly struck the cab driver and continued to kick him in the head even after the cab driver lost consciousness.
"I think the evidence in this case was overwhelming," Hope said after the hearing.
He added open pleas rarely occur.
"What the open plea does is it gives the court unlimited discretion in sentencing. A court can always reject a plea agreement," Hope said. "But with the open plea, the court is free to do as it wishes."
Southwest District Judge Zane Anderson ordered a presentence investigation be conducted, which takes about a month. A sentencing hearing will be held after the investigation is completed.
Hope said the judge will then ask both sides for a recommended sentence.
McKenzie had been serving his time in Jamestown, but Anderson allowed him to serve his time in Dickinson at the Southwest Multi County Correction Center until he is sentenced.