Smithton man accused of kidnapping gets plea deal

November 12, 2018

A Smithton man will serve up to two years in prison for an attack against a former girlfriend this year in which she claimed he held her captive for more than 11 hours.

JR Lee Keener, 37, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of simple assault in connection with the July 16 incident in which the woman told police she was beaten as she was forced to drive Keener through parts of Westmoreland and Alle­gheny counties before eventually being able to call for help.

As part of a plea deal approved by Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani, Keener agreed to a sentence that requires him to serve three months to two years in prison. He was given credit for time served, meaning he is immediately eligible for parole.

In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed charges of kidnapping, terroristic threats and unlawful restraint.

Assistant District Attorney Allen Powanda said the deal, which includes the sentence below state guidelines, was agreed to at the request of the victim, who did not want to testify against Keener.

“The victim simply wanted no contact with Mr. Keener,” Powanda said.

According to court records, the woman claimed Keener popped up in the rear seat of her vehicle after she left work at 9 p.m. in Rostraver, attacked her and demanded she drive him to various locations in Elizabeth, McKeesport and Glassport before eventually taking him to Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant to obtain a prescription for pain pills. They arrived at the hospital shortly before 8 a.m. the following morning, after which she was able to get away and call 911, police said.

She sustained bruises and a swollen face in the attack, police said.

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