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In Killing of Canoga Park Mechanic : Murderer Given 25 Years to Life

Times Staff Writer

A prison escapee who murdered a Canoga Park man was sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday to 25 years to life in state prison.

But Kenneth J. Lundien, 29, will not be imprisoned in California for murdering Kenneth L. Roman until he finishes his 20-year term in federal prison for the 1984 shooting of an FBI agent. Judge Robert Devich ordered Los Angeles police to transfer Lundien, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, back to the federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill.

Roman, 31, a mechanic for the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International Corp. in Canoga Park, was kidnaped, robbed and murdered on Jan. 27, 1984, by Lundien and an accomplice, Robert Latimer, who since was killed in a Tennessee shoot-out.

Victim Shot in Head

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The men accosted Roman as he drove near his Saticoy Street home. After stealing his car, they shot him once in the head and dumped his body in a creek bed, where it was found by firefighters battling a brush fire near Grimes Canyon Road in an unincorporated part of Ventura County, Los Angeles police Detective Marvin Engquist said.

Two days before Roman’s murder, Lundien and Latimer had escaped from an Arizona state prison where they were awaiting trial on armed-robbery charges, Engquist said.

After the murder, they fled California, law enforcement officials said. Lundien was arrested in New York City on March 10, 1984, two days after a shoot-out with FBI agents in Springfield, Va., in which he wounded one agent. Latimer, who investigators believe fired the shot that killed Roman, was himself killed in an April, 1984, shoot-out with FBI agents in Knoxville, Tenn., said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven Barshop.

California authorities extradited Lundien from the federal penitentiary in Illinois to face charges in connection with Roman’s murder.

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Life Without Parole Possible

Engquist said he has notified Arizona authorities that Lundien will be available for prosecution in their state after he is returned to the federal penitentiary in Illinois. He said Lundien could be sentenced to life without possibility of parole, under Arizona’s habitual criminal statutes, for the armed robbery of a fast-food restaurant while he was on parole in 1984.

Barshop said kidnaping, armed robbery and grand-theft auto charges against Lundien in connection with Roman’s death were dropped in return for Lundien’s guilty plea on April 30.


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