Julie McKenzie, last of three defendants linked to Kelly DeMarco's death, pleads guilty to misleading police
NORTHAMPTON — The last of three defendants linked to the death of 44-year-old Kelly DeMarco in June 2010 appeared in Hampshire Superior Court Thursday to answer to a charge of misleading police.
Julie McKenzie, 24, of 223 Glendale Road, Amherst, admitted she lied to police when she told them she didn’t know DeMarco, nor the men who came to her aid, nor who struck the fatal blow outside the Lord Jeffery Apartments complex in Belchertown that led to his death.
Prosecutors and McKenzie’s attorney, Jon Heyman, of Northampton agreed that the case should be continued without a finding, but disagreed over how long that period should be. Prosecutor Matthew Thomas sought three years, while Heyman successfully petitioned for a period of six months.
When a case is continued without a finding, if the defendant complies by court conditions and avoids further legal trouble, charges are dropped at the end of the period.
Thomas argued that while it’s understood that McKenzie’s motivation for misleading police when interviewed the day after DeMarco’s death was fear of retaliation from someone involved in the incident, her misinformation put others in danger.
Thomas said McKenzie gave police vague descriptions of the other two people involved, saying it could have been two Hispanic males, or someone who lived in a particular building in the Lord Jeffery Apartments.
Heyman said McKenzie’s deception only lasted about two hours, until she was confronted by another officer with more information, after which she provided all factual details the police asked for.
Heyman argued that in the two and a half years since the incident, McKenzie has stayed out of further legal trouble, making the state’s request for a three-year period redundant.
In the early-morning hours of June 17, 2010, McKenzie, Lennox Williams and Kalem Daniels were visiting with DeMarco in his apartment. DeMarco became upset when he suspected someone had stolen cocaine he had just purchased and his romantic overtures toward McKenzie and another woman were rejected, according to court testimony in Williams’ trial.
Also according to court testimony, outside the apartment, DeMarco began yelling racial and sexual slurs at the three, threatened the women, and grabbed McKenzie’s arm hard enough to leave bruises and cause her to yell for help.
Williams intervened and punched DeMarco in the head, causing him to fall back and crack his head open on the ground. DeMarco later died from his injuries. Williams was acquitted of a charge of manslaughter in the case in September. A manslaughter charge against Daniels was dropped, following Williams’ acquittal, but he pleaded guilty to one count of intimidation of a witness in connection with the incident.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org