An Oklahoma man who has been facing four charges of aggravated assault of a public servant since 2012 Tuesday faced a jury in the 59th state district court.
Daniel Keigley, of Cartwright, Oklahoma, watched while his attorney, T. Scott Smith, entered a plea of not guilty to the four charges that stem from a police chase through the city of Sherman on Oct. 3, 2012. Before the chase had ended, a number of police vehicles were disabled and several officers had fired shots at Keigley. Keigley was not seriously injured by any of the bullets though officials believe one might have left him with a flesh wound. None of the police involved in the chase were seriously injured though several city vehicles were damaged or destroyed. No civilians were hurt.
Media reports show that Keigley was found competent to stand trial on the charges back in December.
Prosecutor Matt Johnson said the chase started when Keigley attempted to steal a trailer from a painting business located in downtown Sherman. The business owner, Henry Marroquin, told the jury of ten women and two men that he had returned to his business that day and noticed a man hooking up one of the business trailers to a truck.
Marroquin said he got out and yelled to the man about what he was doing, but the man finished hooking up to the trailer and left with it. Marroquin gave chase. He said he didn’t call the police right away because he thought his son might have given someone permission to use the trailer without clearing it with anyone. So, he tried to call his son first. Meanwhile, Marroquin testified, he continued to follow the man who had his trailer.
Eventually, they ended up at a local truck stop where Marroquin said he was able to pull close enough to the man’s truck to look him in the eye and talk to him. The man said he had the owner’s permission to have the trailer and Marroquin said that was not true because he was the owner. The man with the trailer took off. And Marroquin followed this time calling the police as he drove. A short while later the man with the trailer stopped again and told Marroquin that the trailer was being repossessed and if Marroquin didn’t leave him alone, he would call the police.
Marroquin said there would be no need for that because he was on the phone with them at that moment. A short while later, the man with the trailer jumped out of the truck and unhooked it from the truck he was driving and took off. While that was going on, Marroquin had told the dispatcher the license plate shown on the truck. The truck had been reported stolen from Oklahoma.
Sherman PD Officer Joseph Buttery told the jury that he was just in training as an officer on the day that the chase happened. He saw a truck with a license plate that matched the one that had been reported stolen so he fell in behind it. The truck looked like it was about to stop and Buttery and his training officer got out with their guns drawn since it was considered a high-risk stop.
Over the next few hours, jurors watched a number of dashcam videos that showed the truck Keigley was found driving ramming into one police car after another. Along the way, he drove at high rates of speed down city streets, access roads and local highways. He went the wrong way down at least one of those roads with oncoming traffic. He swerved around traffic and tore through at least one local field. He kept going even though more than one officer fired shots at the truck. And, ultimately, he stopped only when the truck simply wouldn’t go any further. When he got out, he told the officers standing around him with guns drawn that they had better read him his rights. A little later on, he told those officers “I gave you something to do today.”
Witnesses said Keigley’s strange behavior didn’t stop there. The officer who accompanied him to the hospital said his attitude there fluctuated between complying with requests and being belligerent. When he got the jail, witnesses testified, Keigley got into a fight with an inmate in a holding cell. Jail staff used a stun-gun to stop the fight.
While Johnson and Britton Brooks questioned police officers about the videos and photos of the car carnage left in the wake of the events that led to the trial, Keigley seemed to focus on his attorney, Smith. He argued with Smith so loudly that the jury had to have been able to hear their discussions prompting Judge Rayburn Nall Jr. to tell Keigley to lower his voice. Nall also asked Smith to move the microphone away from their conversations.
Smith seemed to have his hands full with a client, who before the jury was allowed into the courtroom, asked if Smith shouldn’t sit with the prosecutors since he seemed to be on their side. Keigley had started the day asking to be allowed to represent himself in the case. Nall denied that request citing the fact that Keigley had previously said he was going to represent himself in another matter and then changed his mind and asked for an attorney to represent him. Nall also cited as reasons to deny the request the length of time that the case has been pending and the fact that such a request would delay the trial even further.
When the jury had left for the day, Keigley turned his odd statements on people other than Smith telling one court security person that he would be Keigley’s rat from here on out. He also predicted that the prosecutors and the judge would spend the rest of their careers in that court at his behest.