Orange County DA Todd Spitzer Charges Armed Robbers Who Brutally Killed Elderly Woman at Newport Beach Mall with Special Circumstances Murder, Seeks Death Penalty

Police have made three arrests in the investigation.
Police have made three arrests in the investigation. (KABC-TV / Video screen shot)

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced his office charged the three armed robbers who brutally killed an elderly woman at an outdoor mall last week with special circumstances murder which makes them eligible for the death penalty.

Newport Beach is a wealthy, conservative enclave in Southern California. The broad daylight armed robbery and murder at Fashion Island rocked the laid-back beach community last week.

“On July 2, 2024, New Zealand tourist Patricia McKay and her husband were waiting for a ride after they had finished shopping at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island when a white Toyota Camry pulled up next to the couple and two men in masks jumped out and attacked McKay’s 69-year-old husband, putting a gun to his head and demanding his watch as they forced him to the ground as bystanders ran away. When the suspects, later identified as Darnell and Cunningham, were unable to get his property, Cunningham is accused of attacking McKay, who was holding several shopping bags,” the OC DA’s office said in a press release.

The suspects were transported to the Newport Beach PD jail and identified as: Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Compton, California, Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster, CA, and Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles, California.

A 69-year-old woman was killed in an attempted robbery at Fashion Island in Newport Beach last Tuesday afternoon.

The victim, identified as Patricia McKay, was run over and killed by the suspects as they drove off in a getaway car after the botched robbery.

A Good Samaritan jumped in to help the robbery victims and that is when one of the robbers opened fire. According to police, three shots were fired but no one was struck by the gunfire.

Newport Beach police pursued the suspects to Los Angeles. All three suspects were arrested.

Patricia McKay and her husband were visiting Newport Beach from New Zealand.

Todd Spitzer announced special circumstances murder and possible death penalty for the three thugs who murdered Patricia McKay.

“A third striker and two other Los Angeles County men have been charged with special circumstances murder for throwing a 68-year-old New Zealand woman into the street after robbing her at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island and then running her over with their getaway car, dragging the woman nearly 65 feet under their vehicle before leading police on a high-speed pursuit. The woman’s husband tried to stop the driver from running over his wife after he was thrown to the ground and had a gun pointed at him as two of the men tried to steal his watch,” Todd Spitzer said.

“Leroy Ernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Los Angeles, Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles, and Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster, are eligible for the death penalty if they are convicted of the special circumstances murder of 68-year-old Patricia McKay in the commission of a robbery with a felony enhancement of causing the death of an elder over the age of 65,” Spitzer said.

Todd Spitzer said McCrary is a convicted felon with a long rap sheet.

“McCrary has prior felony convictions for residential burglary in 2018, criminal threats in 2020, and robbery in 2023, all in Los Angeles County,” Todd Spitzer said.

Photo of author
Cristina began writing for The Gateway Pundit in 2016 and she is now the Associate Editor.

You can email Cristina Laila here, and read more of Cristina Laila's articles here.


Thanks for sharing!