Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

April 17, 2014

Repent burglar must serve time

CROSSVILLE — Some defendants cry, because they get caught, and others are tearful with remorse. No one in the courtroom doubted Robert Killeen's sincerity when he apologized to his victim, his loved ones and supporters for committing crimes against an elderly widow, stealing the money her late husband left her.

Mary McMahon of Fairfield Glade shed tears, too. She cried over the loss of the nest egg her husband had created, knowing he was terminally ill. She cried over the invasion of her home. But mostly, she cried over being robbed of her sense of safety and security in the confines of her own home.

In the middle was Criminal Court Judge David Patterson. Obviously touched by the sincerity of the young defendant standing in front of him, but aware of just how much of McMahon's life had been take from her, Patterson sought for a fair answer to all.

During a recent sentencing hearing recently Killeen, 29, told the court that he hurt his shoulder and as a result of the medical treatment for his injury, he became hooked on drugs.

He was desperate for money and a friend told him of a woman whose employ doing odd jobs he was leaving. She paid well. Killeen should try and get the job, the friend told the defendant. The friend also told Killeen where the woman stashed a large amount of cash.

"I went into her home and took the money," Killeen testified during the hearing. He found two boxes — one with cash and one with personal items. When he went back to the house to return the personal items, he was seen by the victim.

After consulting a friend about his addiction and the burglary, he went to another friend seeking advice. Get help and turn yourself in, Killeen was told. He did.

"I've been clean ever since," Killeen told the judge.

When cross examined by Assistant District Attorney Amanda Worley, Killeen agreed "an apology does not replace the security Mrs. McMahon had."

Defense attorney Randal Boston argued that Killeen deserved a chance. His client had not continued down the slippery slope of drug addiction, but had sought help. He turned himself in and admitted his sins, Boston continued. And, it was his first brush with the law.

Patterson thought for a minute and, when he offered his decision, he questioned himself as to whether it was the proper thing to do.

"Drug addiction is nothing new," the judge noted, but he added that he was impressed with Killeen's efforts to right himself. Still, "you did the crimes."

Patterson then ordered Killeen's bond be revoked, that he serve the next six months in jail and then be released on supervised probation. Among conditions of probation is the repayment of $23,157 in restitution.

Patterson then granted Killeen judicial diversion, noting that "you can't get a decent job with felony convictions." And, without a decent job, the victim will never see her money paid back.

For McMahon, she sees the man who robbed her of her retirement funds and her security behind bars. And, the potential to have those funds repaid.

For Killeen, it is a chance for redemption. Do the crime, serve some time and restore what was taken. If he does that, there is a chance to have the felony convictions erased from his record.

With Patterson's ruling, there is a chance for two lives to be restored.

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