Convicted Murderer Pleads Guilty To 1976 OKC Cold Case

Thursday, December 26th 2013, 6:35 pm
By: News 9

A convicted killer accused of killing a 14-year-old girl pleads guilty to killing another teenager.

The crime happened back in 1976, but it was recent DNA technology that helped link the killer to the crime scene. On Friday, accused killer John Benjamin Kennedy pleaded guilty to killing 17-year-old Virginia Kegan, and was sentenced to life in prison.

This has been something the Kegan's family has been waiting for for 37 years. And it would have never happened had it not been for a DNA match.

"He didn't show any remorse, or no kind of feeling at all," said Patti Stephens and her mother Cheri back in 2011.

They have waited more than three decades to see Virginia Kegan's accused killer brought to justice.

John Kennedy was already in prison in Oklahoma for a 1978 murder of a 15-year-old girl. But in 2010, he was charged with the Kegan's murder, when DNA evidence found on her clothes and body linked Kennedy to her murder.

"She was beautiful, so full of life, so caring, so loving," remembers Stephens. "She would have given anybody anything."

Kegan's body was found dumped near the North Canadian River on Oct. 25, 1976. She had been shot in the head and her throat had been slashed. Years passed, and the case went cold, until 2010, when Kennedy became the number one suspect. Now the family knows what truly happened to their daughter.

"We didn't know back then that she was raped," said Patti Stephens. "And now we find out she was, it's a blessing in disguise in a way. The DNA is how they linked Kennedy to killing her."

The DA tells News 9 Kennedy only agreed to plead guilty in this case when he was told evidence of the sexual assault from his 1978 case would be admitted at trial. The DA says Kegan's family support the life sentence given to him.

As it turns out, they did not wish for the death penalty in this case and are just happy knowing Kennedy is already in prison, where he can't hurt any more teenage girls.

Kennedy will be serving both life sentences concurrently, but he will have to spend another 35 years in prison before he's eligible for parole.