WOODBURY NJ--Honesty J. Keener (DOB 2/27/76), formerly of 304 Hazel Ave., Newfield was found guilty today of breaking into a neighbor’s home and threatening to rub open sores she claimed were contagious on the neighbor’s daughter unless she received money.
After the conviction on third-degree burglary and fourth-degree harassment and attempted theft charges, Superior Court Judge Walter L. Marshall set sentencing for 9/27 and revoked Keener’s bail, based on her record of six felony convictions.
Relating to the jury the 17th century phrasing that one’s home is one’s castle, Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Dana Anton said on April 28, 2011, “that sanctuary was forever violated for Donna Schwartz,” the adult daughter of 304 Hazel Ave. homeowner Rhoda Saul.
Schwartz testified she was awakened by the barking family dog and found Keener rummaging through her mother’s bureau. Keener, who Schwartz said was wearing gloves and groping at her crotch, came running at Schwartz and yelling “look at me, look at me. I’m contagious,” Schwartz testified. Keener asked for money, she said, adding that she was “scared to death.” Retreating to her bed, Schwartz said Keener fell on top of her. Trying to keep Keener calm, Schwartz said she let her use the phone and the bathroom. Finally, Schwartz called her mother at work, and she came home and called police. By then, Keener had left.
Rhoda Saul testified her daughter described “open sores” on Keener’s arms and added “she was going to rub the sores on her if she didn’t get money.” Saul also said she found a screen “cockeyed” on an open kitchen window and grass in the sink under the window and on the floor.
Keener’s lawyer contended his client was “extremely sick” at the time and a “stumbling, bumbling mess” who was no threat. Keener was “a pathetic lost soul” seeking help to get to a hospital, defense attorney Ron Appleby said. To demonstrate, Appleby donned gloves and staged a reenactment of Keener’s behavior in Saul’s house as part of his closing argument to the jury.