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New trial denied for convicted Gainesville killer
Keener serving life sentence for 2014 murder, assaults at homeless camp
David-William-Keener
David William Keener

No new trial will be scheduled for a man sentenced to life in prison for a 2014 Gainesville murder and assaults at a homeless camp.

David William Keener, 52, was convicted of murder on July 22, 2015, for the death of Randall Huling. Keener was accused of slamming Huling’s head into a guardrail behind Leggs Package Store in Gainesville in 2014.

Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller denied the motions for new trial in an order signed July 13.

A week before his murder conviction, Keener was convicted of multiple counts of aggravated battery against Steven Yearwood at a Gainesville homeless camp.

Kevin Anderson of the Georgia Public Defender’s Council represented Keener in February for a new trial, claiming ineffective counsel and inconsistent verdicts.

Keener was charged in the indictment in separate counts of hitting Yearwood with a tree branch and kicking him in the head repeatedly.

Keener’s defense claimed in its motion for new trial that it should have merged for sentencing purposes.

“The court finds that each of these criminal transactions was a separate event, occurring at different times and different locations within the homeless camp, and involved distinctly different horrendous acts perpetrated by the defendant,” Fuller wrote in his order.

Anderson also claimed in the February hearing that trial attorney Dan Sammons failed to impeach witness Charley Pestos that testified to seeing the assault at the guardrail.

Both Sammons and co-counsel Tom Csider were “attempting to prove that the event could not have occurred as Mr. Pestos claimed,” according to the order.

Fuller ruled that Keener “failed to show a reasonable likelihood that the outcome of the trial would have been different” with a different trial strategy from Sammons and Csider.

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