McKenzie says he shot and killed man to avoid injuries (Updated 4 p.m.)

March 1, 2012 

— The defense rested its cased this afternoon after capital murder suspect Rodney Phillip McKenzie Jr. testified in his own defense, saying he shot and killed Johnny Bullock to avoid being injured during a prescription pill robbery gone bad.

McKenzie said he suffers from a liver disease and was carrying a gun at the time of the robbery to protect himself from such injuries.

" I can't get into any serious fights," he said. "If I do, my liver swells up and I bleed internally real quick."

McKenzie said Daniel Lamont Hatten are charged with capital murder in the Aug. 10, 2010, killing on Martin Street. Hatten is awaiting trial.

McKenzie said he got a ride to the store with Bullock and offered to buy $80 in prescription Lortab from Bullock, who told him he had some painkillers.

Later, he said, Hatten and Bullock got into a struggle inside his van. As a result, McKenzie said he feared he'd be injured himself, admitting he ultimately shot and killed Bullock.

McKenzie said he wanted out of Bullock's van after Bullock offered to give the two suspects all the prescription pills he had in exchange for sex. However, McKenzie admitted he never told authorities Bullock asked for sex in exchange for the pills.

Instead, one of Bullock's caretakers told police Bullock often traded sex for pills, a Pascagoula police detective said in a taped deposition played in court earlier today.

McKenzie said a struggle occurred between Bullock and Hatten after Bullock offered them the rest of the pills for sex.

That and other details in the case in testimony today.

The Sun Herald updates this story in Friday's online and print editions.

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