ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FL -- Opening statements spell out a case, but rarely does a jury hear the defendant say them.
43-year-old Norman McKenzie represented himself in a double murder trial Monday in the St. Johns County Courthouse.
McKenzie is on trial for killing two St. Johns County men – Charlie Johnston and Randy Peacock -- in October 2006.
McKenzie told the jurors, “The prosecution will certainly put on a good case, but I am the only one who can truly bring you the horror of the evening.”
McKenzie pleaded not guilty to the two murder charges, but in opening statements he described in detail how he killed the men and how he retrieved the hatchet, the murder weapon.
McKenzie told the jurors he knew the men because he was refurbishing a house for them in Green Cove Springs. He said in early October 2006 he was visiting their home on Palmo Fish Camp Road in St. Johns County, and he had asked for a hammer to bang out dents in his car. He said Johnston gave him a different tool.
“I asked for a hammer. I got a hatchet,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie said he went to Johnston and Peacock’s home to steal money from them. He then described how he hit both men with fatal blows. One man was in the shed, the other was in the kitchen.
“I struck him once [Johnston] in the top back of his head,” McKenzie said. He said he hit Peacock in just the same way, on the back of the head as Peacock cooked chicken soup at the stove.
McKenzie has no legal experience. That was evident when the back-up defense attorneys, judge, and even the prosecutor explained judicial procedure to him.
Monday, the prosecution had witnesses testify and played a 911 tape, but McKenzie never cross examined anyone.
It’s expected the jury could start deliberating Tuesday.
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