Suspect in two 80s murders goes on trial in WC

Opening statements were presented Friday in the murder trial of a Hudson, N.Y. man who is accused of raping and killing two Westchester women more than 25 years ago.

Kenneth West was 19 years old when he allegedly murdered a middle-aged woman from Pelham, and three years later a young woman from Yonkers.

Josephine O'Keefe, 53, was beaten, raped and strangled in her apartment in 1983. On the day of the murder, O?Keefe missed an appointment to visit her sick sister. Her bruised body was later discovered by her daughter-in-law.

West, who worked in a shop below the victim's apartment, was investigated in connection with the murder, but he was never a prime suspect.

Three years later, police say West struck again, strangling 23-year-old June Roberts in a parking lot of a senior citizens? housing in Mount Vernon, not far from a topless bar where West worked as a bouncer.

The investigations of both crimes stretched for more than two decades, but DNA evidence eventually led police to West.

However, West's attorney Allan Focarile says the real killer is still at large. Focarile adds that his client had sexual relations with the victims, but he did not commit a crime.

?The DNA will not tell you whether it got there under violent circumstances," Focarile says.

Prosecutors insist West admitted to friends that he killed his second victim. West has already served nine years in prison for killing a bouncer.

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