Jackson County

Morning update: Dog groomer suffered blows prior to shooting

Professional dog groomer Johnny M. Bullock suffered at least four blows to the head before he was shot to death inside his vehicle in August 2010, forensic pathologist Dr. Paul McGarry testified this morning in the capital murder trial of Rodney Phillip McKenzie Jr.

In addition, McGarry said Bullock died of a gunshot wound to the neck. The type of wound, he said, was indicative of a contact wound, meaning "the gun was not just close, it was right up against the skin..."

McGarry said he also found a little under $100 "smeared with blood in one of the pockets of Bullock's shorts. In another pocket, he said he found 20 pills, believed to be the prescription Lortab.

Prosecutors contend Bullock was shot to death on Aug. 10, 2010, during a robbery gone bad involving prescription Lortab.

The defense argues that McKenzie shot Bullock after he requested sexual favors in exchange for the prescription drugs.

Bullock picked McKenzie up and gave him a ride to a U.S. 90 convenience store just prior to the killing. At the convenience store, Bullock picked up Daniel Lamont Hatten, a second man awaiting trial on a capital murder charge in the killing.

Bullock was shot in the neck shortly after he left the store. Pascagoula police found Bullock slumped in the driver's seat of his van on Martin Street near Scovel Road.

Police arrested McKenzie and Hatten within 48 hours of the murder.

The Sun Herald updates this story as details develop.