Defense attacks key witness's credibility
By Doug Murphy
The defense came out swinging Monday afternoon during opening statements in the murder
trial of Kenrick Vincent.
Vincent is one of three Gila River Indian Reservation residents arrested for the November
2000 slaying of Larry Vannoy, a 66-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills man.
"Where we're going is a not guilty verdict for my client, because he wasn't there," defense
attorney Nick Hentoff told the jury of six men and nine women.
Hentoff, one of two attorneys defending Vincent, then questioned the credibility of the state's
star witness, 16-year-old Dale Whitman, who has admitted to being present when Vannoy
was killed and agreed to testify against Vincent in a plea agreement.
Vincent, 27, faces ﬁrst-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery charges. If found guilty
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Padish could sentence him to death by lethal
Prosecutor Noel Levy, in his opening statement to the jury, admitted that Whitman stabbed
Vannoy while the truck was traveling down Interstate-10 to Maricopa Road. But when the
truck ﬁnally stopped near the Wild Horse Pass Casino, it was Vincent who used a homemade
machete to kill Vannoy, hacking at him at least a dozen times.
That detail, and much of what Levy said in his opening statement, came from interviews and
the expected testimony of Whitman.
The teen, who could have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted of ﬁrst-degree murder,
pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December.
In return for the lesser charge, Whitman is scheduled to testify June 11 against Vincent,
something that Hentoff stressed in his opening statement.
"A young man, a (then) 15-year-old boy, simply threw his life away. And once he did that the
family had to ﬁnd a way to get that life back," said Hentoff, who questioned Whitman's