Gary McKenzie, age 44, was found dead in is home located in Miramar, Florida. While police have not yet disclosed McKenzie’s cause of death, investigators have declared it to be a homicide. So far, no arrests have been made.
According to news reports, McKenzie seemed to be a very well liked man, especially by neighbors and people who knew him in business. It is reported that McKenzie was a very hard working and successful barber who worked out of a location at the Flea Market on N.W. 183rd Street in Miami Gardens. He is also said to have serviced clients in his garage in the evenings.
The news reports made a lot of mention of Mr. McKenzie’s success. They said his home is located in Huron Way, was decked out with the latest televisions and stereo systems, and that he had a late model Mercedes S600.
It has also been mentioned that McKenzie started carrying a handgun after he had been robbed in his home some years ago.
Obviously a case like this presents a number of interesting questions for investigators. Based on my experience as a criminal lawyer, I can tell you that two things likely come to their minds. First, is that Mr. McKenzie’s success attracted the wrong attention.
Melvin Conyers, a neighbor of Mr. McKenzie, told the news media that he had warned McKenzie about letting certain people into his house. Apparantly, McKenzie was known for being extremely friendly and very trustworthy.
Conyers told news reporters that McKenzie was known for saying “Much love, Mon!” to everyone.
Clearly, a person with money, material success, and valuable objects, who is known by many people is clearly a target. The fact that he was robbed in the past supports this theory.
However, at the same time, I am sure investigators are considering other theories as well. First, they will want to know how a barber in a flea market is able to afford a Mercedes S600 and state of the art home electronics. While McKenzie may in fact have been that successful, investigators will surely be puzzled by the level of his success compared to the type of income he would be expected to earn as a barber.
The other possibilities are endless. McKenzie may have been involved in business dealings outside of his barber shop that were not so public and which may have led him to becoming a target. Those business dealings may have been legitimate or illegitimate. I would not be surprised if police suspected that this case concerned a criminal drug offense.
No conclusions have been drawn just yet and a lot of important information is still unknown.
However, the point of mentioning this is not to disparage Mr. McKenzie, but to discuss the realities faced by detectives when they are investigating a homicide. Police will want to interview all of Gary McKenzie’s known associates, friends, and family to determine if there are any obvious suspects.
For instance, did he have a recent falling out with any friends, family, or business partners? Does this case involve domestic violence or a jealous lover? DId he owe anyone money? Was he caught up in some kind of dispute that may have led someone into a rage?
Clues can be obtained from a number of sources. First, investigators will obviously look to any forensic evidence obtained from the scene of the crime. Evidence such as fingerprints, DNA, fiber evidence, and even surveillance video (if McKenzie’s home was outfitted with such cameras), may help identify a suspect or suspects.
Next, investigators may want to effectuate a search warrant on McKenzie’s business and baking records. Knowing who he did business with may prove priceless in this case.
Investigators may also obtain the GPS data from McKenzie’s cell phones as well as call logs from all of his phone numbers. Knowing where he was in the days or weeks leading up to his death may explain everything. Such evidence may also flush out a dishonest witness who claims to have not seen McKenzie in a long time when the GPS records clearly show McKenzie’s cell phone was at that person’s home or place of business.
Knowing who McKenzie was speaking to on the phone will also be helpful. For a man that was know for keeping a very regular schedule, it would be interesting to know if he had any disruptions to his routine, such as late night phone calls, meetings with people at odd hours, or bizarre text messages.
Police may also get a warrant to search McKenzie’s computers. Information obtained from his internet browser’s web history or his email may provide police with important clues to solve this case.
Finally, the cause of death itself will be very revealing. If McKenzie was shot, there was forced entry to his home, and valuables are missing, police will conclude that he was robbed and killed in the process. If there is no forced entry and nothing was stolen, police will suspect that there is much more to this case than meets the eye and that the killer was not motivated by stealing.
Additionally, if McKenzie was strangled to death or his body showed signs of torture, investigators may suspect that his killer was motivated by great anger or rage. The manner in which McKenzie was killed may reveal the type of killer police should be searching for.
In a case where the killer’s identity is not easily ascertained, police need to narrow their search as much as possible so that they don’t waste time while their leads and clues are still warm. As time progresses, witnesses get lost, evidence spoils, and investigations begin to run cold.
Hopefully this case will end with a suspect arrested so that justice may be served. At the present time, there is still a huge amount of investigating that needs to be completed before any conclusions about this case may be drawn.
My heart goes out to McKenzie’s family, friends, and loved ones.