Prosecutors open retrial in slaying of carnival worker
The retrial of a man accused of killing a carnival worker opened Tuesday with a prosecutor repeating the allegation that the death was a brutal execution for a small amount of money.
Lennie Mickey is on trial for killing 48-year-old Robert Vargo, who was shot in the head through a pillow after he was forced onto the bed of his North Charleston hotel room.
Mickey's first trial in May ended with a hung jury.
The motive for the killing was robbery against an easy target, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Rutledge DuRant told jurors inside the Charleston County Judicial Center.
"They murdered Robert Vargo for about $50," DuRant said.
Mickey, 32, is one of four people arrested in the case. He is accused of being part of a group that targeted Vargo in November 2006 for the cash he was believed to be carrying.
Vargo was staying at the Budget Inn on Fain Street after two weeks of working at the Coastal Carolina Fair.
Mickey is charged with murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy. Another suspect, Shawn Demetrius Phillips, was found guilty in the Vargo slaying on Aug. 7. He was sentenced to 40 years behind bars.
Mickey's defense attorney told jurors his client is innocent and that the state's case depends on co-conspirators hoping to "save themselves" by cooperating with authorities.
The case is expected to last several days.