An insurance fraud trial in Mohave County Superior Court has ended in the conviction of the defendant. The jury deliberated for a little more than an hour before finding Michael Mckenzie, 53, guilty of fraud, theft and two arson counts on March 24.
Prosecutor Rod Albright told the jury that Mckenzie twice set fire to his mobile home in Golden Valley, about 90 days apart in late 2011 and early 2012. Albright said Mckenzie subsequently collected roughly $28,000 in insurance coverage claim payoffs.
Albright said his case was bolstered by two witnesses who claim Mckenzie asked them to burn the residence for him.
Defense attorney Nathan Benedict unsuccessfully countered that the testimony wasn’t credible because the witnesses hated Mckenzie and had motivate to fabricate their claims. Benedict told the jury that Mckenzie may be a “jerk” but that the state had insufficient evidence to earn trial convictions.
McKenzie was taken into custody and booked into jail once the guilty verdicts were read into the record. He faces mandatory multiple years in prison when sentenced April 21 by Judge Lee Jantzen.