Man found guilty of posing as police officer, assaulting women sentenced

Kevin Kenniston given 23-year prison term

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A man who posed as a police officer and subjected motorists to phony stops in Chula Vista, and also kidnapped his second wife at knifepoint and broke into a former girlfriend's apartment, was sentenced Friday to 23 years and four months in prison.

Kevin Alan Kenniston was convicted last November of 20 counts, including impersonating a peace officer, kidnapping, false imprisonment and violating a restraining order by breaking into his ex-girlfriend's apartment and assaulting her.

Jurors also heard testimony from Kenniston's first wife, who said he doused her with lighter fluid in 1996.

"The jury heard from three separate women detailing three separate violent incidents with this defendant," Deputy District Attorney William La Fond said outside court.

Kenniston, 43, was first arrested on April 5, 2011, for using a black-and-white Ford Crown Victoria equipped with a siren, public-address system and roof-mounted lights to trick at least three motorists into pulling over. In at least one of the cases, Kenniston used the phony traffic stop to deliver a 20-minute lecture to the victim about safe driving, police said.

In another stop, Kenniston used emergency lights and the public-address system  to confront a driver who was parked near a red or yellow zone. When the woman ignored him, the defendant blocked her car and demanded her driver's license, registration and insurance.

La Fond said Kenniston owned a funeral escort business and drove replica police cars which can be used to escort cars from a funeral home to a cemetery.

Kenniston was free on bail in connection with the phony stops when he was re-arrested in response to the filing of a police report by an ex-girlfriend who had taken out a temporary restraining order against him.

The woman said that on April 22, 2011, Kenniston parked his Jeep near a jogging path she uses in Chula Vista and later that day made a telephone call to her.

The next day, the woman said, Kenniston followed her into a supermarket parking lot and tried to speak with her. That evening, Chula Vista police went to Kenniston's Engleman Court home to arrest him, but he fled out the back door and escaped.

The next night, officers were called to the woman's home in northern Chula Vista after her 11-year-old daughter said she saw Kenniston there, jiggling a door in an attempt to get inside, according to police.

Officers eventually took Kenniston into custody on April 25, 2011, during a traffic stop.

Kenniston -- who has eight prior felony convictions dating back to 1988 -- was subsequently indicted on charges that he held his second wife against her will in their home in 2007, choked her, and threatened her with a kitchen knife, according to La Fond.

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