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State Supreme Court upholds murder conviction in 2015 beating death
David William Keener

The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously affirmed the murder conviction for David William Keener, who slammed a man’s head into a guardrail.

Keener was given a life prison sentence in July 2015 for the death of Randall Huling, who succumbed to his injuries in September 2014.

Huling was found Aug. 15, 2014, in a ditch behind a liquor store. A medical examiner determined the man had a fracture at the base of his skull.

“The State also presented testimony that (Keener), while in pretrial detention, had admitted to a fellow detainee that he had smashed Huling’s head into the guardrail three times and, further, that (another man) had witnessed the assault,” according to the opinion.

Keener’s defense presented a doctor who testified the head trauma came from a fall.

Keener claimed his trial attorney was ineffective by not impeaching a witness who had made inconsistent statements.

The court disagreed, calling the attorney’s cross-examination of the witness “sound.”

“The defense theory at trial was that Huling died as a result of a fall and that (the man) was an unreliable witness,” according to the opinion.

The court also disagreed with Keener’s assertion about the trial court’s consideration for a new trial.

“While the trial court declined to exercise its discretion to grant (Keener) a new trial, the trial court fully satisfied its duty to consider and evaluate the claim,” according to the opinion.

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