February 24, 2024

Judge sentences Erik Keene for breaking into King home

The Texas man who broke into author Stephen King’s home will be heading back to his home state soon, either on his own or with a Texas police escort.

Erik Keene, 26, of San Antonio, was sentenced Tuesday in Penobscot County Superior Court to two years in prison. Justice Eugene Beaulieu suspended all of it except for the 127 days he already has served for the April 20 burglary. During a two-year probationary period, he also is to stay away from King and his wife, Tabitha King, and stay out of Penobscot County.

But he remains in Penobscot County Jail pending extradition to Texas, where he is wanted for a parole violation.

In the event Texas police fail to come for him, his lawyer has a bus ticket home for her client.

“The Kings have, throughout this matter, expressed a strong desire to have Mr. Keene kept away from them, and I think this accomplishes that,” Deputy District Attorney Michael P. Roberts said, calling Keene a “publicity seeker.”

If Texas officials don’t come for Keene “within a reasonable time … then we’ll be back in court asking for him to be set free, because they obviously are not intending to execute on the warrant,” said Keene’s lawyer, Martha J. Harris. “I have made alternate arrangements. … I have a bus ticket that was provided by some friends and relatives of his and he would, in fact, leave Maine and go back to Texas.”

Keene made no statement in court. The Kings, contacted through their secretary, declined to comment.

Keene pleaded guilty unexpectedly nearly two weeks ago to Class C burglary for the incident, during which police said he also threatened Tabitha King with what turned out to be a fake bomb. A companion charge of terrorizing pertaining to that allegation was dismissed in the plea agreement, and the burglary count was reduced from Class B.

His case followed an unorthodox path to its resolution. Last spring, Keene twice accepted, then rejected, court-appointed attorneys, and decided he wanted to represent himself. But shortly before jury selection was to begin for his trial two weeks ago, he changed his mind again and Harris was appointed to represent him.

While acting as his own attorney, he filed numerous unusual motions, with little success.

Keene, whom Roberts referred to during the sentencing hearing as a “publicity seeker,” has contended that a main character in Stephen King’s book “Misery” was modeled after convicted Texas baby killer Genene Jones, whom Keene has said is his aunt.

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