And the 1st murder trial of 2009 will be …

Kenneth West, charged in the cold case killings of Pelham grandmother Josephine O’Keefe and June Roberts of Yonkers.

Jury selection is set to start next week for West, a 44-year-old ex-con who did time for manslaughter, is charged with raping and murdering O’Keefe in 1983. She was found naked and strangled in her apartment above a bait and tackle shop where West worked.

West is facing another murder charge in the 1986 slaying of June Roberts of Yonkers, whose strangled body was found around the corner from a Mount Vernon strip club where West worked as a bouncer. She was 23.

The lawyers are in pre-trial hearings this week before Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambelli to discuss is some statements West allegedly made to police can go before the jury. West’s defense lawyer is Allan Focarile of the Legal Aid Society. ADAs Patricia Murphy and Fred Green are prosecuting the case. 

Police said West said told them “his life was over” because he has two felony convictions and would spend the rest of his life behind bars for the O’Keefe murder.

West had served time for another Westchester homicide – the slaying of Allen Edwards, a fellow bouncer at the strip club, Sue’s Rendezvous on Sept. 22, 1987. He was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for testimony that helped convict the man who West insisted arranged the killing and also shot Edwards. West was paroled in April 2006.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.