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Kenneth Robbie Whalen

Whalen

A Lompoc man accused of fatally stabbing another man at a Lompoc dog park pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon. 

Kenneth Robbie Whalen, 30, is accused of stabbing Theophus Bennett, 33, at Barkin' Park, 300 W. Barton Ave., in April. He was charged by the District Attorney's Office in May. 

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

His case will return to court July 26 when a preliminary hearing date could be set. 

At 6:20 a.m. April 3, officers were dispatched to the dog park to a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, police found Bennett, who they believed was a transient, had been 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. 

Whalen was arrested May 25 after police served a warrant at a location in the 1600 block of West Cherry Avenue, where Whalen was spotted leaving. 

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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