Thomas Keep­ing sen­tenced to 3 ½ years in jail for stab­bing, other charges

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Thomas Keep­ing took the stand at his own sen­tenc­ing hear­ing Thurs­day, telling the judge he has a se­ri­ous drug ad­dic­tion he wants to over­come.

“I just want to get back to nor­mal,” the 32-year-old said.

Pro­vin­cial court Judge Colin Flynn ac­knowl­edged Keep­ing’s ad­dic­tion and sen­tenced him to 3 ½ years in prison, say­ing un­less Keep­ing dealt with his is­sues, “it’s a re­volv­ing door.”

Keep­ing was con­victed last week of stab­bing a man in the west end of St. John’s in Novem­ber, de­spite the vic­tim hav­ing tes­ti­fied that Keep­ing wasn’t the guy re­spon­si­ble. Tyler Dove said he didn’t know who had stabbed him, but he was sure it wasn’t Keep­ing.

Flynn re­jected those words, how­ever, say­ing he had no faith in Dove’s tes­ti­mony, since he had re­fused to co-op­er­ate with po­lice from the start.

Keep­ing drove a stolen school bus to a res­i­dence on Outer­bridge Street early in the morn­ing Nov. 28, parked it out­side the house and banged on the door be­fore go­ing in­side.

Wit­nesses said they saw Keep­ing and Dove fight­ing on the street be­fore Dove yelled that he had been stabbed. Keep­ing ran away but was later lo­cated by the RNC’s K-9 unit, hid­ing on the ground un­der­neath the pa­tio of a home on nearby Doyle Street. He was car­ry­ing two knives and four cell­phones, one of them be­long­ing to Dove’s grand­mother. A key to the stolen school bus was found on the ground.

Dove later re­quired surgery to treat in­juries he re­ceived from three stab wounds to his ab­domen, but he re­fused to pro­vide po­lice with a sam­ple of his DNA in or­der for them to com­pare it to sam­ples taken from the knives Keep­ing had been car­ry­ing.

Keep­ing’s lawyer, Shel­ley Se­nior, had sug­gested there were two sus­pects run­ning from po­lice in the neigh­bour­hood the morn­ing in ques­tion: the stab­ber and her client, whom she said was hid­ing be­cause of the stolen school bus. Flynn didn’t ac­cept that pos­si­bil­ity, say­ing the only rea­son­able in­fer­ence made by the ev­i­dence at trial was that Keep­ing was guilty.

Keep­ing’s 3 ½ year sen­tence in­cludes jail time for ag­gra­vated as­sault, pos­sess­ing prop­erty ob­tained by crime, driv­ing while dis­qual­i­fied, theft un­der $5,000, as­sault, mis­chief by dam­ag­ing prop­erty and breach­ing court or­ders, for the stab­bing and other un­re­lated in­ci­dents. With credit given at an en­hanced rate for the time he has spent in cus­tody, he has just over two years left to serve.

TARA BRAD­BURY/THE TELE­GRAM

Thomas Keep­ing (cen­tre) pre­pares to go back to the hold­ing cells at pro­vin­cial court in St. John’s, hav­ing just been sen­tenced to 3 ½ years be­hind bars for a stab­bing and other crimes. Keep­ing stabbed a man on Outer­bridge Road in the west end of the city last Novem­ber.

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