Man pleads guilty in killing of fetus
Prosecutors to seek more than 10 years in case of husband stabbing pregnant wife in Norton
AKRON, Ohio -- Prosecutors intend to seek more than 10 years in prison for a man who pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife and killing their unborn child in Norton last winter.
Lonnie McKenzie Jr. of Lodi was to go on trial Monday in Summit County Common Pleas Court, accused of attacking his pregnant wife and her friend in a jealous rage.
In court with his lawyer Friday, McKenzie pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for terminating the pregnancy, and to attempted murder for stabbing his wife. Each conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
He had been indicted on a murder charge, but prosecutors dropped that, along with charges of felonious assault, assault and carrying a concealed weapon, in exchange for his guilty pleas.
McKenzie, 25, is to be sentenced Dec. 15 by Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh.
He was arrested Jan. 30 after his wife, Michelle, who had been stabbed with an 8-inch steak knife, called Norton police.
Assistant prosecutor Becky Doherty said Friday the knife penetrated Michelle McKenzie's back, causing severe blood loss, which ended the life of the couple's 14-week-old fetus.
Michelle McKenzie, 22, also suffered a collapsed lung and one kidney was removed as a result of the attack.
Prosecutors say the couple had been separated, and Michelle McKenzie was living with her father.
McKenzie attacked his pregnant wife when she arrived at her father's Albert Street home in the company of a male friend who had given her a ride, prosecutors said. McKenzie wrongly assumed the male friend was romantically involved with his wife, prosecutors said.
``I'm going to ask for at least 10 years,'' Doherty said. ``He stabbed his wife in the back, and he did it knowing she was pregnant.''
Defense lawyer David Lowry declined to comment until after the sentencing. He remains in the county jail.
Doherty said the viability of the unborn child was not a legal issue in this case. McKenzie was charged under a special murder law and was accused of causing the ``unlawful termination of a pregnancy.''
Posted by Editor at November 21, 2005 01:17 AM