Three Men Accused of Killing New Zealand Tourist in Newport Beach Robbery

### Tragic Murder at Fashion Island Leads to Charges

Orange County prosecutors have charged a third-strike offender, Leroy Ernest Joseph McCrary, along with two other men, Malachi Edward Darnell and Jaden Cunningham, with murder in connection to the death of a 68-year-old New Zealand woman at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island. The trio is accused of running over Patricia McKay during a robbery, dragging her nearly 65 feet in the process.

### Previous Criminal History Raises Questions

The incident has raised questions about why McCrary, who has previous felony convictions, had not served prison time before. McCrary, facing charges of attempted robbery and evading, has a history of convictions for residential burglary, criminal threats, robbery, and possession of a firearm as a narcotics addict.

### Charges Faced by the Defendants

In addition to the murder charge, Darnell and Cunningham are facing additional charges related to the robbery and attempted murder. The violent incident unfolded as the victims, Patricia and Douglas McKay, were waiting for a ride after shopping at Fashion Island.

### High-Speed Chase and Arrests

After the robbery, the suspects led police on a high-speed chase into L.A. County. The pursuit reached speeds of up to 110 mph before the suspects were arrested. Cunningham was taken into custody after bailing out of the vehicle, while McCray and Darnell were apprehended later.

### Community and International Response

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer expressed condolences to the McKay family and the country of New Zealand, while New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon described the incident as an “absolute tragedy.” The McKay family, in a statement, requested privacy as they come to terms with their loss.

### Criticism of the Justice System

The lack of prison time for McCrary in previous convictions has come under scrutiny, with the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office citing issues with proof in the case. However, the District Attorney’s Office condemned the latest crimes as “reprehensible.”

### Political Response

In response to the incident, District Attorney Spitzer criticized Governor Gavin Newsom and California Democrats for failing to hold criminals accountable, stating that shopping centers have become hunting grounds for criminals.

Original Story at www.latimes.com – 2024-07-07 20:50:00

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