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Keene murder trial continues

Witnesses testify to accused’s drinking habits at country club

Posted: October 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.

LANCASTER — A former bartender at the Valencia Country Club testified Thursday that the Agua Dulce man charged with hitting and killing his neighbor while drunk was regularly served alcoholic drinks and had to be sent home in a cab on occasion.

Dennis Keene, 64, is charged with murder and drunken driving in the 2011 crash that killed Lori Lindlief, 55, while she was walking her dogs on an Agua Dulce street.

As the second week of the murder trial got under way Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Susan Choi called country club employees to answer questions about the club’s practice of serving alcohol to members.

Choi, who last week told the jury Keene was drinking beer and playing golf the day of the fatal crash in August 2011, asked drink server Qui Nguyen about that day.

Nguyen said Keene was drinking beer from a 24-ounce cup.

On cross-examination, Keene’s defense lawyer, James Bates, asked the server, “You saw him drinking beer with ice in it?”

Nguyen answered, “Yes, sir.”

Nguyen told the jury Keene “did not seem intoxicated.”

Adam Rollins, who for five years until January worked as a bartender at the club, was also asked about Keene’s drinking.

In the course of his employment at the club, Rollins called a taxi to take Keene home “two or three times,” he said.

Rollins said Keene was a regular in the club and regularly drank beer but also drank rum.

“I would say, ‘I’m calling a cab for you,’” Rollins said under questioning from Choi.

Also Tuesday, three California Highway Patrol officers identified photographs taken of Keene’s damaged 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and discussed measurements taken at the crash site, including a “debris field” measuring seven feet on the road where Lindlief was struck.

The jury saw photos of Keene’s truck dented on the right front side with a “crushed” headlight and “cracked” right side mirror.

Bates elicited answers indicating the truck’s air bags had not deployed during the crash.

The trial was scheduled to continue today in Antelope Valley Superior Court.




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