Split decision in Westchester slayings trial

A jury found a man accused in two cold-case murders in Westchester County guilty of one and not guilty in the other Wednesday.

Kenneth West was charged with killing two women - one from Yonkers and the other from Pelham - two decades ago. West was found guilty of killing the Pelham woman, Josephine O?Keefe.

Police say O'Keefe, 53, was beaten, raped and strangled in her apartment in 1983. West, who worked in a shop below the victim's apartment, was originally investigated in connection with the murder but was never a prime suspect.

West was tied to the O?Keefe killing by DNA in a semen sample left at the murder scene.

Prosecutors had alleged West struck again three years later. Police say he strangled 23-year-old June Roberts in a parking lot of a senior citizens' housing center in Mount Vernon, not far from a topless bar where West worked as a bouncer. Prosecutors have also argued that the method and brutality of Roberts' murder was strikingly similar to that of O'Keefe's.

West will remain at the County Jail until his sentencing at the end of April. The district attorney says she is determined to see to it that West gets the maximum sentence of life in prison.

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