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Saturday, June 20, 1998

Republic of Texas member convicted, sentenced to 90 years

By The Associated Press

FORT STOCKTON, Texas (AP) -- The last of five Republic of Texas members accused in a kidnapping that started an armed standoff a year ago has been convicted of burglury with intent to commit aggravated assault.

District Attorney Albert Valadez said that after 45 minutes of deliberation on Thursday, the jury found Richard F. Keyes III guilty. He was sentenced to 90 years in prison and must pay a $10,000 fine.

Authorities said Keyes was one of three people who carried out a military-style raid on a neighbor's home and took two people hostage for 13 hours on April 27, 1997.

The incident in the Davis Mountains Resort, a remote community 175 miles southeast of El Paso, led to a week-long armed standoff between the armed separatist band and 300 law enforcement officers.

Keyes and group member Mike Matson fled into the surrounding mountains after most of the separatist group surrendered May 3.

Matson was killed two days later by law enforcement officers. Keyes remained at large until Sept. 19, when he was captured north of Houston.

In interviews, Keyes has said militia groups assisted his flight.

The others accused of participating in the raid, Gregg Paulson and his wife, Karen, were convicted in April of the same burglary charge and sentenced to prison. Group leader Richard McLaren and his top lieutenant, Robert "White Eagle" Otto, were convicted in October on organized crime charges and sentenced to prison.

Keyes' trial was moved to Fort Stockton because of extensive pre-trial news coverage in the Davis Mountains Resort area.


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