(Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout.)
After spending several days talking at times when most would have stayed quiet, an Oklahoma man had nothing to say when a jury convicted him of four counts of aggravated assault of a public servant Wednesday. Daniel Keigley also said nothing as Judge Rayburn Nall Jr. sentenced him to life in prison for each of the four charges.
Keigley was also sentenced to 75 years in prison on one charge of evading arrest with a motor vehicle and 20 years on one charge of theft of property and will be over 80 when he first becomes eligible for parole.
The charges stem from an incident that happened in October 2012 when Keigley was caught attempting to steal a trailer from a business in downtown Sherman. The business owner drove up as Keigley was hooking one of the company’s trailers up to a truck. The business owner followed the truck Keigley was driving as it left the area and traveled out to FM 1417. There the two men exchanged words over the ownership of the trailer. Keigley said he was repossessing the trailer for the bank. When the business owner continued to follow Keigley and called the police, Keigley ditched the trailer. He was then pulled over by police, briefly, but took off before he could be arrested. That started a chase that tore through northwest Sherman on city streets, access roads and highways. Along the way, Keigley backed over some police vehicles, rammed into others and climbed across the hood of one district attorney investigator’s vehicle. Along the way, several officers fired shots at the truck. No one was seriously injured in the incident.
When his truck finally gave out, Keigley showed no remorse as officers led him toward a patrol car. He quipped that he had given the officers something to do for the day and had gotten them out of the house.
Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Britton Brooks urged jurors to send Keigley to prison for the rest of his life. He had already been to prison twice before. Once on a drug charge and once on a robbery charge. When his own attorney asked him how he wanted to plead to the charges that he was in fact the person who had been sentenced on those prior felonies, Keigley refused to answer at all. Scott Smith entered a plea of not guilty to the charge on his client’s behalf.
It seemed to be a difficult situation for Smith as he fought both the prosecution and his client. At one point Wednesday, Smith said his client’s 10-15 minute long diatribe — while the jury was out of the courtroom — made Smith wonder whether the man was still competent to stand trial. During that rant, Keigley seemed to threaten members of the prosecution team and their families. Keigley made several references to family as he described his alternate vision of the situation where he was in charge of the proceedings and the prosecutors and jail staff were incarcerated under his control. During that same rant, Keigley said Smith was part of the prosecution team and would be confined as well for his crimes.
Nall said he would take notice of Smith’s concern.
While jurors missed Keigley’s take on incarceration, some of them likely caught his lewd hand gestures toward prosecutors as the case wound down. The gestures were so overt that Brooks commented on them as he talked to the jury.
After the verdicts and sentencing, Smith asked Keigley whether he wanted to appeal his sentence and ask for a new attorney to handle that case for him. Instead of giving Smith any information to help with that process, Keigley again rebuffed the attorney, saying “you are not my attorney.”
Smith declined to comment on his client or the sentence Wednesday.
“The jury listened to all of the evidence," Brooks said. "They weighed the weighed the odds of Daniel Keigley being a future danger to our community. They agreed with us that he should spend life in prison and did their job today.”
Brooks said he knew that it would take the jury longer to sentence Keigley than it did for them to convict him. They had the video that clearly showed he was the man who had driven the truck through the streets of Sherman and repeatedly struck police vehicles. But he said they took their time to think through sentencing Keigley to life in prison.
Both prosecutors and Smith had agreed to an exhibit that showed that several doctors had found Keigley incompetent as he awaited trial on the charges. In December, a jury determined that Keigley was competent to stand trial. Brooks said he considered the mental health issues to be part of a scheme to get out of trouble for what Keigley had done.
The second and last prosecution witness who testified, a jailer with 17 years experience in the field, said she felt abused by Keigley as he repeatedly masturbated in front of her and refused to stop when told to do so. She said Keigley seemed to be able to turn his behavior on and off when he wanted to do so.