Smyrna man convicted in February home invasion

Ronald L. Keis

DOVER — A 51-year-old Smyrna man who never denied but said he didn’t remember committing a home invasion earlier this year was convicted Wednesday morning.

Ronald L. Keis was also found guilty of first-degree robbery second-degree assault of someone 62 or older during the Feb. 28 incident at a residence in north Dover. Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clark revoked bail and scheduled sentencing for Jan. 9, 2018.

The defendant was found not guilty of tampering with physical evidence in the aftermath of his arrest.

When announcing his findings in the bench trial, Judge Clark referenced the defendant’s admission during a police interview that he didn’t recall conducting the home invasion, hoped that he didn’t do it and that “if he did it he should be punished.”

Keis was arrested shortly after a 911 call was placed from the unit block of Hickory Dale Drive at approximately 7:45 p.m., the Delaware State Police said at the time. While the 69-year-old woman could not pick out a suspect in a photo lineup, Keis fit her description of a short haired-man wearing blue jeans, a black jacket and tan boots, authorities said.

During investigation, Keis acknowledged being at the Chase Lounge across U.S. 13 from the home invasion site around the time of the incident, the judge noted when describing circumstantial evidence that brought the verdict.

About 90 minutes after the home invasion, the prosecution said, a bloody nosed Keis was found by police with $2,400 in $20 bills throughout his pockets, which is what the elderly woman had earlier reported as stolen.

The defendant expressed surprise and gave no credible reason for possessing so much money, the judge said.

The apprehension was made while Keis was walking in the area of Scarborough Road and U.S. 13 in Dover.

The woman was taken by EMS to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

While Keis may have been intoxicated around the time of the home invasion, Judge Clark said evidence showed it was not so much as the defense portrayed.

The defendant’s parents owned a home in neighborhood where he once lived and the crime took place, the Court said in reviewing trial findings.

Investigation found that the woman was struck repeatedly with fists and kicked as a perpetrator threatened to kill her during a search for money.

Keis – indicted on May 1 – remained incarcerated at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

He was originally held on a $132,000 cash bond.

The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation into his background.

Deputy Attorney General Dennis Kelleher prosecuted the case, with attorney Suzanne E. MacPherson-Johnson representing the defendant.

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