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Man Pleads Guilty to Murder in 1994 Hate Crime Shooting

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A high school dropout who allegedly embraced white supremacist beliefs pleaded guilty Monday to the 1994 hate-crime shooting death of an African American man in Huntington Beach and another shooting attack on two Latino men.

Jonathan Kinsey, 20, of Huntington Beach entered his plea to murder and other charges just before a jury was to be selected in his trial before Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald.

Jury selection will resume today in the trial of co-defendant Robert Wofford, who is also charged with murder in the slaying of Vernon Flournoy, 44, during a confrontation outside a fast-food restaurant.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Tanizaki said Kinsey faces a maximum of 58 years to life in prison when he is sentenced April 26, although the judge can consider his early plea as a factor for a shorter sentence. He was charged with murder and commission of a hate crime in connection with Flournoy’s death.

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Kinsey’s plea did not include any promises for a shorter sentence, the prosecutor said.

Prosecutors allege the September 1994 attack on Flournoy, of Huntington Beach, was racially motivated. Kinsey admitted shooting Flournoy, although he initially contended the killing was in self-defense, according to testimony at his preliminary hearing last year.

A witness told authorities it appeared the two men were blocking the victim’s path when angry words were exchanged and a fight broke out. The witness said the two young men were “getting the better” of Flournoy when shots rang out.

An investigator specializing in “skinhead” cases testified that tattoos covering Kinsey’s body showed a “personal affirmation to the racist skinhead philosophy.”

Wofford, of Laguna Niguel, was 17 at the time of the killing but was ordered to be tried as an adult.

Kinsey also pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault with a firearm and of committing a hate crime for the August 1994 wounding of two Latino men in Huntington Beach.


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