An act of generosity and a fatal act of violence
Gregory William McKinney was the kind of man who would open doors and carry groceries for his neighbors.
The 51-year-old Pasadena native, who moved to Westwood to live with and care for his blind mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was friendly toward everyone — family members, mail carriers, strangers.
While on one of his frequent walks in Westwood, McKinney met and befriended Frank Stafford Jackson at the Veteran’s Affairs West Los Angeles Healthcare Center.
Jackson had been displaced after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and McKinney invited him to live at his mother's apartment.
"That’s just how Greg was. He was always helping people," said his sister Alice Schulze, 53, of Valencia. "This time to his own detriment."
On July 12, 2007, McKinney, Jackson and another man, Ponce Deleon Boyd, were driving in the 1300 block of Westwood Boulevard when they had a fight over a phone bill, according to Los Angeles Police Det. Mike Pelletier.
Jackson and Boyd beat McKinney, dumped him out of the car and drove away, Pelletier said.
More than two weeks later, on July 28, McKinney died in the hospital, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.
Jackson and Boyd were arrested in the weeks after the attack, Pelletier said.
Jackson pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter on April 30, 2008, said Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County district attorney's office.
Boyd pleaded no contest to assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, Davila-Morales said.
Jackson was sentenced to four years in state prison, paroled on Oct. 3, 2009, and discharged from parole on Nov. 12, 2010, according to Luis Patino, a spokesman for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Boyd, who had a criminal record, was sentenced to two years in prison with 730 days of pre-sentence credits. He was paroled on Jan. 15, 2009, and discharged from parole on April 8, 2012. In 2005, Boyd had served time for "selling a person for illicit use," Patino said.
McKinney, who was a UCLA alumnus, worked as a computer technician, Schulze said. He graduated from South Pasadena High School in 1974 and was described as a dog lover and environmentally conscious.
"He ran the recycling center in college," Schulze said. "Basically he was environmentally conscious before it was even popular."
McKinney is survived by Schulze, her husband and their children.
Schulze said that although McKinney struggled with alcoholism throughout his life, friends, relatives and acquaintances remembered him most for his compassion.
"For a long time his condition made me feel so bad for him," Schulze said. "But then when all these people came to me after his death telling me how kind he was, it gave him back to me."
— Saba Hamedy