Arrest in O’Keefe killing

first_img R. Rex Parris, the attorney representing the O’Keefe family in the civil lawsuit, said his office gave prosecutors evidence from the civil case about six months ago. It included videotaped depositions taken of Jennings. “We were able to present numerous inconsistent statements that he made. … I think Jennings talked himself into a jail cell,” Parris said. In April, the civil trial was postponed to January 2006 after it was discovered that Jennings, a sergeant in the Army reserve, was in Iraq. “There isn’t any doubt in my mind what happened. In the parking lot, there were two people. One died, the other went home, Parris said. Parris said Jennings’ account of what he saw and didn’t see didn’t jibe with his description of where he was. “When we did a reenactment, I remember being struck that what he was describing was from the vantage point of where the victim was, not from where he would be as an observer,” Parris said. Jeffra, a retired sheriff’s deputy, said the family was relieved at the news of Jennings’ arrest but didn’t want to talk to the news media. “I just got down talking to them. The best things in world for these folks is to sit down and catch their breath a little bit. They have a few friends around and that’s what they really need,” Jeffra said. O’Keefe’s car had been parked at the lot while she rode with a friend to work as an extra during the taping of a music video for rapper Kid Rock. The gun that killed O’Keefe has never been found. In May 2002, members of a local scuba diving club combed the murky bottom of nearby Palmdale Lake but turned up nothing. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – A former security guard long suspected of killing an Antelope Valley College student at a Palmdale Park and Ride lot was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging that he murdered her. Raymond Lee Jennings, 31, who had been named in a civil lawsuit filed by Michelle O’Keefe’s parents but had never been charged criminally, was stopped Tuesday morning while driving in Lancaster and arrested on a warrant accusing him of murdering the 18-year-old. “They are happy and they are relieved. That would be probably be stating it mildly,” Lancaster City Councilman Jim Jeffra said of Michael and Patricia O’Keefe, for whom he has been working as a private investigator. “They have had a lot of anxious moments in the last five years.” O’Keefe was found shot to death just after 9 p.m Feb. 22, 2000, behind the wheel of her blue 2000 Ford Mustang in a Park and Ride lot on Avenue S. Its engine running and the driver’s door opened, the car had backed out of a parking space and rolled over the edge of a small concrete planter. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Jennings, who was on duty for a private security company under contract with the city, told investigators he heard gunfire and watched the Mustang roll backward, but didn’t see the killer because his view was blocked by a parked van. Jennings said he called a supervisor and waited for her to arrive before approaching the car. “I don’t know what to tell you, because everything points to me,” Jennings said in a videotape of a Sheriff’s Department lie-detector test, released through the civil lawsuit. “I can’t believe this is happening.” Prosecutors in the past declined to file charges, saying at the time there was insufficient evidence, but cited new developments as a result of the civil suit. “After re-evaluating the evidence in its current state, it was appropriate to file the case. The overall character of the evidence was different as a result of all the proceedings,” Deputy District Attorney Robert Foltz said. “I can’t put my finger on precisely what the difference is, but it was clear we had a fileable case.” last_img

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