NORTH PORT — The North Port man accused of raping a homeless woman in December may soon face charges in his hometown.
But Robert Junior McKenzie must first clear problems in another state. The 28-year-old was picked up as a fugitive by West Virginia state troopers. He possessed illegal drugs, provided false information and had a concealed weapon, which is illegal for a convicted felon, according to troopers making the Dec. 27 arrest. He is also charged with conspiracy, or the intent to commit an illegal act.
McKenzie’s return to North Port cleared hurdles on Friday, where he agreed to an extradition request to Florida before West Virginia’s Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit Judge Michael D. Lorensen. The waiver he signed means facing charges in West Virginia, then surrendering to Sarasota County.
He faces up to life in prison for the Florida rape. He’s being held in West Virginia at the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg.
McKenzie left North Port around Christmas. He allegedly left a string of thefts dating to 2017, listing himself over that period as a landscaper to unemployed. A Jamaican native, he had a Miami address when he was first arrested in North Port for stealing a bicycle.
Police in McKenzie’s most serious encounter wanted him for the alleged sexual assault of a 72-year-old woman on Dec. 8. The victim was in a gazebo a few yards from traffic at U.S. 41 and Pan American Boulevard. DNA from the attack linked McKenzie to the crime, according to investigators.
The victim has since relocated after staying at the gazebo for several years, police said.
McKenzie vanished around Christmas from a North Port home in the 100 block of Granada Boulevard, which is less than a mile from the gazebo. A police sketch of his likeness likely sparked his run from North Port just as the DNA results came back, police said. A federal fugitive warrant was issued by the U.S. Marshals Service.
In Sarasota County, his charges include sexual battery, and battery on someone 65 years and older. North Port police had posted a photo of McKenzie after the West Virginia arrest. Included was a jab, reading: “Guess he thought a fake name and a haircut was going to keep him out of jail ... #nope.”
North Port spokesperson Josh Taylor said that with McKenzie in jail, “we have a dangerous individual off the street” and that locals should feel safer.