Man sentenced in police dog killing
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
An admitted drug user has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison for fatally stabbing a police dog.
After H. Keegan Graves entered his plea to several charges, he told the judge that his methamphetamine addiction had led him to violence. He admitted that he intended to kill the Clark County sheriff’s dog, Kane, out of desperation to escape as the dog pursued him April 2.
He said as the dog bit him, he pulled out a 3-inch pocket knife, stabbing Kane repeatedly.
Clark County Superior Court Judge Rich Melnick on Tuesday gave Graves the high end of the sentencing range for the crimes of harming a police dog, second-degree assault, two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and identity theft. Graves’ guilty plea also resolved an earlier case in which he was caught at the Battle Ground Fred Meyer store with a backpack of stolen IDs and a stolen car.
Melnick said he wished he could give Graves more time, but his hands were tied.
“I think, frankly, you’re lucky the range is low,” the judge said. “A lot of people do drugs and don’t do the things that you did.”
The case resulted after Graves, 31, and Natasa Cresap, 22, were spotted shortly after midnight driving a vehicle with switched license plates. As deputies pursued the vehicle, Graves drove through yards, on sidewalks and against traffic. After trying to hit a deputy’s patrol car (which relates to the second-degree assault charge), he smashed the stolen vehicle into a fence in the 8800 block of Northeast 107th Avenue and ran away.
Kane, an 8-year-old Dutch shepherd, was unleashed to chase Graves to a nearby mobile home park, where the stabbing occurred. The dog was rushed to St. Francis Animal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Kane’s handler, Deputy Rick Osborne, was present for the Tuesday afternoon sentencing, but did not wish to speak. The courtroom was void of other police officers or TV cameras, as the sentencing wasn’t publicized on the public court calendar.
The hearing was rescheduled numerous times by attorneys, so the final date didn’t end up in the court computer system.
Attorneys still mentioned the high-profile nature of the case.
“I think the community was hurt deeply and scarred by this incident,” said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield.
When it was his turn to speak, Graves said he wanted to apologize to the community and hopes he can be a better man upon his release from prison.
“Never did I intend for things to come undone the way they did,” he told the judge.
Graves’ sentence also includes an order to pay about $25,000 in restitution, Banfield said. Money will go toward the training of police dogs.
Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516; Twitter: col_courts; email@example.com.