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Kenneth Robbie Whalen

Whalen

The District Attorney's Office on Wednesday formally filed a murder charge against a Lompoc man arrested in connection to a fatal stabbing at a Lompoc dog park in April. 

Kenneth Robbie Whalen, 30, made his first arraignment appearance in Lompoc Superior Court on Wednesday morning, but the hearing was continued to 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Whalen did not enter a plea.

Whalen, who is being held on $2 million bail, also faces a special allegation — use of a knife — during the alleged crime.

Whalen was arrested on suspicion of murder Friday, after law enforcement officials served a warrant at a location in the 1600 block of West Cherry Avenue, where Whalen was spotted leaving.

The alleged homicide victim, Theophus Bennett, 33, died after being stabbed near Lompoc's Barkin Park at 300 W. Barton Ave. Police believed that Bennett was a transient, according to reports.

On April 3, officers were dispatched to Barkin Park around 6:20 a.m. to a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, police discovered Bennett, who had been allegedly stabbed multiple times.

Bennett was treated by paramedics as he was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria but was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

The fatal stabbing is Lompoc's first homicide of 2018.

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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