jail cells
Example of jail cells. Photo via Pixabay

A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a registered sex offender’s conviction for sexually abusing a young girl and possessing child pornography.

Ronald Melvin McKenzie of San Gabriel is serving a 23-year-to-life state prison sentence stemming from his September 2019 conviction on five counts of committing a lewd act on a child and four counts each of oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years old or younger and possession of child pornography after a prior conviction.

Jurors subsequently found that he was sane at the time of the crimes.

While rejecting the defense’s contention that there were errors in McKenzie’s trial, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with the defense’s contention that possession of multiple images of child pornography constitutes a single violation and vacated his conviction on three of the four child pornography charges.

The victim was sexually abused in 2013 and then again from July 2017 to September 2017, Deputy District Attorney Presciliano Duran said after the verdict.

Police said they found multiple images of child pornography when they searched electronic devices belonging to McKenzie, who was arrested after officers responded to a report of suspected child abuse received from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

“During the initial investigation, numerous images of a sexual nature depicting minors were found on the suspect’s computer and cellphone,” San Gabriel police Lt. Brian Kott said around the time of McKenzie’s arrest. “At least one minor depicted in the photos was confirmed as also being a victim of sexual abuse.”

McKenzie had a prior conviction from 1990 for child molestation.

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