Sacramento businessman Jerry Keenan says he invested nearly $2 million in California’s “three-strikes” initiative because he believes in the cause – not because its fine print could shorten his son’s stay in Folsom State Prison. But critics accuse him of trying to buy freedom for Richard Keenan, 25, who is serving an eight-year sentence for a rollover crash that killed two passengers, both 19.
The heavy investment by Keenan and his wife has become a lightning rod for opposition to the “three-strikes” measure, the primary goal of which is to prohibit nonviolent felonies from triggering lifetime sentences. “The fact that his father is willing to spend that kind of money to get him out of prison is horribly offensive,” the prosecutor in the case told the Sacramento Bee. Keenan had been drinking and smoking marijuana before taking the wheel, court records show. He and four passengers were traveling about 74 mph – nearly 20 miles over the speed limit – on a road frequented by thrill seekers because of its roller-coaster effect at high speeds.