Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 30, 2013

Keen pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A Mercer County woman facing a charge of first-degree murder in the March 2011 death of a Princeton man has agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

Tammy Lee Keen, 39, of Princeton had been scheduled Friday for a motions hearing before Judge William Sadler. This hearing was rescheduled after a plea agreement was finalized, according to Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash.

Keen was arrested in early August 2012 and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Timothy DeWitt, 41, of Princeton. Highway workers performing maintenance on an Interstate 77 bridge near Bluestone Falls spotted DeWitt’s body in March 2011 and notified authorities.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said Friday that Keen had agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and to first-degree robbery. The murder charge will carry a 40-year sentence. This time in prison will run consecutively with a 10 year sentence on the robbery charge, giving Keen a total of 50 years. She has also agreed to state that the crime was committed with a firearm and that she was a principle in the first degree.

“She will not qualify to go before the parole board until 16.6 years have passed,” Sitler said.

One of Keen’s co-defendants, Thomas Tyler Hall, 39, of Princeton pleaded guilty March 5 to second-degree murder. Hall faces between 10 to 40 years in prison. His sentencing date has been set for April 29.

A third defendant, Chad Hylton, 35, no address available, is currently being held on unrelated charges at the Montgomery County Jail in Virginia.

“We’re not sure when we will get him back from Virginia,” Sitler said.

Keen, Hall and Hylton allegedly conspired to rob DeWitt for drugs and money. During Hall’s plea hearing, Sitler told the court that bullets from two different calibers of firearms were found in DeWitt’s body. Hall said to investigators that he and Hylton shot at DeWitt when he tried to flee, Sitler said.

Keen has been scheduled for a plea hearing April 4 before Judge Sadler.