Gino McKinnie is headed back to prison. How long he will be there is still up for discussion.
McKinnie was tried on Dec. 2, 2019, on felony charges of first-degree robbery, two counts of first-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action. On Feb. 20, Christian County Circuit Judge Jennifer Growcock pronounced McKinnie guilty on all six charges.
McKinnie, 23, has been in the Christian County Jail in Ozark throughout his trial proceedings. However, he will be returned to a state prison before his sentencing on June 4, so that he may continue serving a five-year prison sentence on a class B felony conviction of trafficking in stolen identifies in a separate case in Taney County from 2019.
An officer from the Missouri Division of Probation and Parole will interview McKinnie and prepare a sentence assessment report, which Judge Growcock will use as an aid in sentencing McKinnie. McKinnie can be brought back to Ozark from prison to appear for sentencing.
McKinnie appeared in person for his pronouncement hearing at the Christian County Circuit Court building on Feb. 20. Clad in the navy blue uniform of a Christian County Jail inmate, he remained in handcuffs with a belly chain limiting the movement of his arms. Before he left the courtroom, the judge allowed him to briefly hug his daughter, a toddler, who gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“I love you. I miss you,” McKinnie told the girl. A sheriff’s deputy then led McKinnie from the courtroom.
McKinnie was first arrested by Ozark police in November 2016. He was 19 at the time he was accused of breaking into a home, stealing money and using a handgun to threaten three persons.
According to a probable cause statement, McKinnie allegedly broke into a residence on Petrus Circle, located off of North 22nd Street in northern Ozark, and physically attacked two of the three residents.
“McKinnie also pointed a handgun at each of the three residents,” the statement reads. “Further, while in the home, McKinnie took approximately $150 in cash.”
One of the residents told police officers he was asleep on a downstairs couch when his roommate came home. The man said he woke up as his roommate began “screaming for him.” The man said he woke up and saw McKinnie standing over his roommate. The man told police McKinnie was wearing a white hoodie with the hood up and tied tightly around his face so all he could see was “the suspect’s eyes and the area around the eyes.”
“(The victim) said he knew right off who the suspect was,” the statement says. “(The victim) said he had been hanging out with the girlfriend of Gino McKinnie … said they are only friends, but he knew right away McKinnie’s voice. (The victims) all know McKinnie from high school, as they all attended together.”
According to the statement, witnesses told police McKinnie was holding a stainless, short-barreled revolver. McKinnie allegedly asked if there were any other persons in the home, and they said their other roommate was sleeping upstairs. McKinnie allegedly asked them to go upstairs while he followed them, holding them at gunpoint the entire time.
“Once upstairs, McKinnie punched both (victims) in the face, knocking (one of them) to the ground,” the statement says. “McKinnie also woke up the other roommate.”
One of the residents said McKinnie began tapping him on the forehead with the barrel of the gun, and said “You know who I am.” The man allegedly responded, “Yes, I do.”
“McKinnie then removed his hoodie from his head and face,” the probable case statement reads.
McKinnie is accused of using the revolver in an act of Russian roulette with the residents.
“McKinnie then unloaded the gun into his hand, pulled one shell from his open hand and loaded a single round into the revolver,” the probable cause statement reads. “He then pointed the gun at (one of the victims) and pulled the trigger. (The victim) thought he pulled the trigger two times at him and two times at (another victim). He then told (them) he only had one more time to ask before the gun was going to go off.”
According to the statement, one of the victims said he would show McKinnie where their money was.
McKinnie allegedly threatened, “I know where your families live, do not call the police.”
According to the probable cause statement, McKinnie then ran out the back door and fled, throwing the residents’ cell phones into some grass as he went.
One of the robbery victims reportedly sustained a broken ear drum from McKinnie striking him. The probable cause statement says police later arrested and questioned McKinnie, who denied being at the home or knowing where the victims lived.
McKinnie, however, admitted he texted one of the victims after finding out the victim spent time with McKinnie’s girlfriend. The text was sent Nov. 21 and said “I’m beating your (expletive) when I see you. On sight (expletive).”
McKinnie failed to appear for a court hearing in Ozark on April 10, 2019. Judge Growcock issued a warrant for McKinnie’s arrest, stemming from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McDonald motioning to revoke McKinnie’s $500,000 bond and defense attorney Stuart Huffman motioning to withdraw from representing McKinnie. Police arrested McKinnie in Springfield later that day.
McKinnie also has a warrant out for his arrest in Greene County, where he is accused of class A felony first-degree robbery. Huffman, who defended McKinnie at trial, said during the sentencing hearing that it will be up to Greene County prosecutors to seek a writ of habeas corpus to bring McKinnie from a state prison to Springfield to stand trial on that charge.
“I don’t represent Mr. McKinnie at this moment in that case,” Huffman said. “My understanding is he was on the public defender waitlist.”