A Pennsylvania State Police trooper has been found not guilty of reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in connection with an off-duty firearms incident last April in Summerhill Township but does face potential jail time for a conviction of driving under the influence.
Kevin J. McKeen, 27, of Albion was found not guilty of reckless endangerment and criminal trespass Thursday following a 1 1/2-day trial in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas. The jury of 10 men and two women acquitted McKeen of the two counts following about 45 minutes of deliberation Thursday morning.
President Judge John Spataro, who presided over the trial, found there was enough evidence to convict McKeen of driving under the influence, an ungraded misdemeanor, and a summary count of criminal mischief. Under Pennsylvania law, a verdict on an ungraded misdemeanor DUI is determined by a judge, not a jury, as are any summary counts at a trial.
Pennsylvania State Police charged McKeen for an off-duty incident April 13, 2019, at a Summerhill Township home on Route 198 between 12:01 and 1:24 a.m.
McKeen was accused by police of firing six rounds from his own .45-caliber pistol into the floor of a home McKeen shared with Ariel Supinger while McKeen was in close proximity to her.
State police also charged McKeen with breaking into another home along Route 198 while looking for Supinger later during the incident.
Eric Mikovch, McKeen's defense attorney, said facts of the case showed "Kevin McKeen did not participate in any criminal activity or commit any crime."
Andrew Natalo, the Crawford County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said, "We thank the jurors for their service and respect their decision." Natalo declined additional comment.
McKeen, a trooper assigned to the Meadville barracks, has been suspended without pay since his April 13, 2019, arrest, said Ryan Tarkowski, Pennsylvania State Police's communications director in Harrisburg.
Since McKeen was found not guilty of criminal trespass and reckless endangerment, McKeen will return to work, though in a limited capacity, according to Tarkowski.
"He'll be brought back on restricted duty but still is subject to an internal investigation," Tarkowski told the Tribune on Thursday.
McKeen faced up to 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine on criminal trespass, a second-degree felony, and two years in jail and a $5,000 fine on reckless endangerment, a second-degree misdemeanor.
McKeen could get up to six months in jail plus a $300 fine on the ungraded misdemeanor DUI conviction for being incapable of safe driving plus 90 days in jail and $300 fine on the summary criminal mischief.
While there was no direct evidence of McKeen driving while under the influence, Spataro said McKeen had admitted to police he had been drinking and McKeen was slurring his speech in talking with police.
In finding McKeen guilty of DUI, Spataro said testimony during the trial by McKeen showed "his judgment was severely impaired" and that McKeen "had shaded the truth" about the incident.
Spataro ordered that McKeen undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation prior to sentencing.
McKeen remains free on $20,000 bond pending sentencing in March.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.