Washington man who killed two gay men gets 67 years in prison

BY admin

February 21 2004 1:00 AM ET

A Washington State man has been sentenced to 67 years in prison for the execution-style murders of two gay men in a remote cabin last October. Richard L. Keenum, 32, insists he found Matthew L. Raynor, 32, and Russell C. Markvardsen, 52, dead when he arrived to burglarize their home. "I did not kill Russell Markvardsen, and I did not kill Matt Raynor," Keenum said at his sentencing Thursday. However, a jury convicted Keenum of two counts of first-degree murder earlier this month.

No motive was suggested for the slayings, but several witnesses said Keenum had made comments about disliking "homosexuals." Markvardsen and Raynor were partners.

Members of Raynor's family joined prosecutor Jerry Wetle in calling for the maximum sentence of 67 years. Stevens County superior court judge Rebecca Baker rejected court-appointed defense attorney Lorinda Noble's request for a minimum sentence of 53 years. Under state law, Keenum must serve at least 50 years. Baker said Keenum's refusal to accept responsibility for the murders added to the grief these families have suffered. "I hope you'll have plenty of time to have a change of heart about this, and you're going to need plenty of time, given the mind-set that you've displayed on this," Baker said.

Wetle reminded Baker of evidence that showed Markvardsen's killer shot him in the hand while blowing open the victim's front door with a 12-gauge shotgun, then shot him in the chest and finished with a shot to the back of the head. Raynor also was shot in the chest with the shotgun, apparently while trying to defend himself with a flare pistol. Then he was killed by an "execution-style" shot to the back of the head while he called 911, Wetle said.

"I will never forgive you for the brutality of the way you killed my brother," said Daniel Thomas, one of five of Raynor's siblings who spoke at Keenum's sentencing.

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