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DUIs drive murder charge

Agua Dulce man faced series of drunken driving charges before he allegedly struck, killed neighbor

Posted: August 18, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: August 18, 2011 1:30 a.m.
 

An Agua Dulce man accused of murder and drunken driving in the crash that killed his neighbor while she was out walking her dogs has two prior convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and a hit-and-run conviction, officials said Wednesday.

Dennis Dean Keene, 63, of Agua Dulce, faces multiple charges in the death Saturday night of his neighbor Lori Lindlief, who was hit by a pickup truck Saturday night. Among those charges is murder.

Keene had been charged with misdemeanor DUI and a charge of hit-and-run stemming from an incident in Santa Clarita on Oct. 26, 1995, according to computer records reviewed Wednesday by a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Keene was acquitted on the 1995 DUI charge but convicted of hit-and-run, said Public Information Officer Sandi Gibbons of the D.A.’s office.

Additionally, Keene pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of driving under the influence of alcohol Sept. 16, 1999, stemming from a traffic accident in Orange County, Deputy District Attorney Susan Choi said Wednesday.

A charge of hit-and-run laid against Keene in that same incident was dismissed, Choi said.

Four days later, on Sept. 20, 1999, Keene was arrested for drunken driving in Santa Clarita, a review of court records reveals.

On Jan. 14, 2000, he was convicted of DUI during a jury trial in Newhall in connection with that incident; he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

“For a murder charge to be laid, we have to prove that he knew the dangers of DUI,” Choi said Wednesday. “So it helps to have evidence of priors. And, in his case, he has some priors.”

Keene, a resident of White Fox Lane, appeared in Antelope Valley Municipal Court on Tuesday and was arraigned on charges of murder, vehiclar manslaughter and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, including one for causing injury and the other for having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

He remains in custody with bail set at $1 million.

Keene is scheduled to appear in court in Lancaster on Sept. 7.

Keene, who was born in Los Angeles County in 1947, was arrested shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday and charged in connection with the death of Lindlief, 56, also of White Fox Lane.

About 8 p.m. Saturday, Lindlief was walking her four dogs with her boyfriend on Mabana Street, just west of White Fox Lane, when she was hit by a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, Officer Marino Hernandez of the California Highway Patrol said Monday.

The investigation into the Lindlief fatality is ongoing, CHP Officer John Lutz said Wednesday.

“We will be talking to anybody who had any interaction with him 24 hours prior to the incident,” Lutz said. “It is very common in an investigation such as this to look at a 24-hour period.”

Lutz confirmed that at least one of those interviews will see investigators talking to people in Valencia.

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