Keathley continues to circumvent the court

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By Susan Sharp

If a “continued refusal” on Howard Frank Keathley’s part to acknowledge responsibility for his crimes was the driving factor behind a 90-day jail sentence recommendation in November, odds are he is looking at more time now.

Keathley was scheduled to appear in court this week on a narcotics charge but failed to show up.

This has become a pattern for the convicted narcotics trafficker.

There has been an outstanding warrant for his arrest since January.

Before that, there was a court order revoking his bail.

In November 2008, Keathley appeared in criminal court for sentencing on a methamphetamine conviction.

However, a delay was encountered.

A drug screen indicated Keathley had trace evidence of narcotics use in his system, court testimony revealed.

This prompted Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton to postpone Keathley’s sentencing pending a more comprehensive screen.

“If I see any signs of methamphetamine use you will pay with the revocation of your bail,” Sexton said at the hearing.

When that screen yielded a positive for narcotics use, Sexton issued an order on Nov. 24 revoking Keathley’s bail, the court order said.

The judge also ordered Keathley be held without further bail until his court date in January. But Keathley didn’t turn himself into authorities nor was he arrested.

At the sentencing hearing Senior District Attorney General Mike Ripley had recommended Keathley serve 90 days behind bars for his “continued refusal” to accept responsibility for his actions. Ripley said the balance of the eight-year sentence should be spent on supervised probation.

 “He has never denied the possession of the meth,” Charles Herman, Keathley’s attorney challenged. “He had it for his personal use. I don’t see how the state can say he didn’t take responsibility.”

When LaFollette Police Detective Jason Henegar arrested Keathley on an outstanding narcotics warrant, in 2005, it was in public and a small child was in his care, according to court testimony. Sexton called both of these factors disturbing.

Keathley was also found to have four separate, clear plastic bags of what appeared to be meth in his wallet when he was searched, according to LaFollette Police Detective Jason Henegar, who executed the 2005 arrest. Each bag weighed around a half gram, Henegar said.

Following Monday’s court session another warrant was issued for Keathely’s arrest. When apprehended he will be held without bail.