Keener enters guilty plea

By Pat Sunderland

Like his co-defendant, Kevin Keener entered a plea of guilty in the death of Trever Rawson, a motorcyclist from Hotchkiss. Keener pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, a class 5 felony, and willful destruction of big game wildlife, a class 5 felony. Valdez pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter and transfer/alteration of a hunting/fishing license.

Both Keener and co-defendant Mark Valdez will be sentenced Jan. 13. According to the plea bargain, the judge will determine whether or not there exists extraordinary aggravating circumstances, and whether such circumstances justify a sentence in the aggravated range. The sentence is open, to be determined by the judge.

The victim's family objected to the plea agreement, but the plea was accepted by the judge. Restitution will be awarded, jointly and severally with Mark Valdez, in the amount of $3,135.

Rawson was killed in October 2013, as he was riding westbound on Highway 92 south of Crawford. He ran into a rope Keener and Valdez had stretched across the highway to retrieve a downed elk. Both defendants left the scene before any first responders arrived.