Notorious criminal Patrick McKenna was pronounced dead on April 19 at Spring Valley Hospital after an operation and a string of heart attacks
A death row killer known as “the most dangerous criminal in Nevada” has died at the age of 74.
Patrick McKenna, the longest-serving prisoner on the state’s death row, was executed after killing his cellmate in Clark County Jail in 1979.
According to the Last Vegas Review Journal, McKenna was pronounced dead on April 19 at Spring Valley Hospital after surgery and a string of heart attacks.
The notorious criminal spent most of his adult life in prison. In addition to first-degree murder, he had also been convicted of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault.
The then 32-year-old McKenna suffocated the 20-year-old prisoner Jack Nobles after an argument between the two over a chess game in 1979.
Witnesses alleged McKenna, who at the time was drinking pirated copies from prison, also requested that Nobles perform a sexual act on him during a tense confrontation.
McKenna (pictured 1996) suffocated the 20-year-old prisoner Jack Nobles after an argument between the two over a chess game in 1979
However, the next morning Nobles was found dead and McKenna was sentenced to death in 1980 the following year.
McKenna’s death sentence was overturned twice on appeal, but was later upheld on the third attempt.
He was scheduled to be executed on December 9, 1996, but ultimately remained on death row until his death that year.
In a 1989 interview, McKenna said he did not want the state to kill him, adding, “I will kill myself before I allow them to do this to me.
“I’m not going to give them this ritual journey. For me that would be the ultimate outrage. ‘
The killer had a long and murky criminal history when he was only 17 years old.
McKenna was taken in by a friend on a three-year prison term from 1976 and 1979.
While living with the two friends, he brandished a shotgun, used sheets to make slings for the women, and raped them for hours.
He threatened the women and warned that if they went to the police he would return and kill them.
He was later sentenced to three consecutive life terms plus 75 years in prison.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson had previously described him as “the most notorious killer on Nevada’s death row,” adding, “In my opinion, he didn’t get what he deserved.”
McKenna (1996) was pronounced dead on April 19 at Spring Valley Hospital after surgery and a series of heart attacks
Patrick McKenna: A timeline of his murky criminal history
- 1946: Patrick McKenna was born in Leadville, Colorado and later moved to Nevada as a child
- 1960: Spends time in juvenile prison after stabbing a man
- 1964: At 17, he and a friend were given a 20-year prison sentence for raping and beating a woman with a stick near Sunrise Mountain
- 1967: McKenna escapes from prison after taking a guard hostage
- 1973: During another attempt to escape, he stabs a prison guard in the stomach
- 1978: After meeting two women in a shabby motel in Las Vegas, he tied sheets around their necks and raped them
- 1979: Allegedly kills Jack Nobles for losing chess game. Later that year, McKenna and other inmates were given a gun and carried out a prison takeover that lasted two days. The incident ended in a shootout in which two prisoners were killed
After his death, his brother Ken McKenna, a retired attorney, said his brother had a change of character after his mother sent him to Spring Mountain Youth Camp on Mount Charleston.
He claimed that his brother met people in the camp who were “vicious, vengeful, and basically sociopaths who beat and tortured the children”.
Ken McKenna added, “It was a complete change in his personality. When he came back from Spring Mountain, he was no longer there. Pat no longer existed in this body. He was cold.
‘He was evasive. He committed all of these crimes. Nobody tries to whitewash that. He’s done terrible, bad things. But the reality is that it would never have happened. ‘
McKenna was born in Leadville, Colorado in August 1946 and moved to Nevada as a child.
His father, who later killed himself, was an alcoholic who allegedly hit McKenna, his brother Ken, and their mother.
McKenna was only 14 years old and ended up in juvenile prison after stabbing a man.
At the age of 20, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of rape and caning a woman near Sunrise Mountain in Clark County.
McKenna escaped from prison in 1966 after prison officials discovered that the bolts in his cell had been cut.
In 1973 he stabbed a correctional officer with an 11-inch knife.
Nobles and one other inmate were given a gun and taken hostage during a prison takeover in 1979. Two of his accomplices later died from gunshot wounds.