WORTHINGTON — A man convicted of third-degree rioting in relation to a September assault at the Ground Round may be able to reduce his jail time by one third if he cooperates with law enforcement by identifying the final suspect in the incident.
Jonathan Keovilay, 20, of Worthington, was arrested last fall for showing up to the Ground Round with three other people, all wearing masks, and assaulting four victims. As the fight moved outside, Keovilay was said to have pulled out a gun. Having been convicted of two previous violent crimes, Keovilay is not eligible to own a firearm.
He was charged with possession of a firearm after being convicted of a crime of violence and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, both felonies; gross misdemeanor third-degree rioting; two counts of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault; and misdemeanor reckless driving.
Keovilay pleaded guilty to third-degree rioting, with the remainder of the charges dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Two other co-defendants were also charged in relation to the incident, explained Assistant Nobles County Attorney Braden Hoefert at Thursday's sentencing hearing, but the last person involved has not yet been identified with enough certainty to charge the person. The first time police interviewed Keovilay to get information from him about this fourth accomplice, Keovilay was "uncooperative," Hoefert said.
Hoefert asked the court to impose 90 days of jail time and make some or all of it abatable on the condition that Keovilay be helpful in identifying his co-defendant. Hoefert also pointed out that to date, when describing the events of Sept. 27, Keovilay has always told law enforcement, "I got into an altercation." This phrasing is not indicative of what happened that day, the prosecutor said.
"This was not an altercation," Hoefert said. "This was an unprovoked, coordinated, public beatdown."
He also noted that prior to the assault in this case, Keovilay was already on probation for a previous crime of violence.
Keovilay's attorney asked for 30 days in jail instead, arguing that Keovilay is very young and that the court should consider his compliance with release conditions and the pre-sentence investigation.
Fifth Judicial District Judge Sherry Haley sentenced Keovilay to 360 days in jail, 90 days of which he is to actually serve. She ordered him to report for the first 60 days of his sentence Saturday, and if he is helpful with the police investigation of the fourth suspect, then the other 30 days may be abated.
For the remaining 270 days of Keovilay's sentence, Haley granted him a stay of execution, meaning he may serve two years of supervised probation instead. Among his probation conditions are that Keovilay is to have no contact with any of the victims, is banned from the Ground Round premises and must complete a chemical use assessment.
One of the victims in this case filed an affidavit of restitution requesting $750, which Keovilay is to pay jointly with his co-defendants. Haley also ordered him to pay a $700 fine.
"You do not seem to think that this is a big deal whatsoever," Haley told Keovilay. "That is very concerning."
She explained to him that ordering jail time is intended to show him what life will be like if he continues on his current trajectory, and encouraged him to think hard about his next steps.