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Testimony Begins in Murder Trial Over Palm Springs Senior Citizen's Slaying

What to Know

  • A man murdered a 74-year-old Palm Springs resident by driving a hatchet into his head seven times, a prosecutor said Monday.
  • But a defense attorney claimed his client was drugged and sexually assaulted by the senior citizen and acted in self-defense.
  • Jason William Brokken, 52, is accused of killing Kenneth R. Moody on Jan. 21, 2012. Moody's body was found inside a garbage bag.

A man murdered a 74-year-old Palm Springs resident by driving a hatchet into his head seven times, a prosecutor said Monday, but a defense attorney claimed his client was drugged and sexually assaulted by the senior citizen and acted in self-defense.

Jason William Brokken, 52, is accused of killing Kenneth R. Moody on Jan. 21, 2012. Moody's body was found inside a garbage bag the next day on the side of Rudderow Lane, a dirt road south of Dillon Road.

Brokken, who reportedly moved to Palm Springs from the Santa Barbara area just weeks prior to Moody's death, is charged with murder and a sentence- enhancing allegation of using a weapon in the killing.

Police and prosecutors allege that Brokken, who was temporarily staying at a residence near Moody's, visited the victim at his home on Gem Drive and asked if he could use Moody's shower, then killed him in his bedroom.

When Moody's body was found, investigators found a phone bill leading them to his residence, where they found clothing stained with blood and "DNA blood evidence" in and around Brokken's van, all of which allegedly matched Moody's, according to the prosecution.

Deputy District Attorney Antonio Fimbres said the defendant made statements to police, in which he initially denied owning the van and said that he got along well with Moody.

"At the end of this case, I want you to look at Jason Brokken's actions, because his words to police, when asked about this case, was that 'I have no problem with Ken Moody. I have no beef with Ken Moody,"' Fimbres said. "But his actions tell you different. The evidence will tell you different."

Brokken's attorney, Cameron Quinn, said that Brokken did like Moody, as he told investigators, and had recently moved to the Coachella Valley with the prospects of a new job and school at CSUSB's Palm Desert campus, all of which came "to a screeching halt."

Quinn alleged that Moody drugged Brokken with ketamine and made "inappropriate sexual advances that Jason tried to resist, but was unable."

Quinn did not specify whether the alleged drugging occurred on the day Moody was killed.

"The prosecutor referred to actions. What were (Brokken's) actions? His actions were reactions to actions initiated by Mr. Moody," Quinn said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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