Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two theft charges after he was accused earlier this year of shoplifting from multiple Walmarts.
After maintaining his innocence for months, Keith entered the plea agreement during his scheduled bench trial Tuesday where he was facing four shoplifting counts, two of which were dropped, according to WAAY31.
The District 1 councilman received a 90-day suspended sentence concurrent with two years of probation on one charge and a 180-day suspended sentence on the second charge combined with 50 hours of community service, WHNT 19 reported. He has also reportedly been banned from all Walmart stores for two years.
In a lengthy public statement to reporters after the trial, Keith discussed the plea agreement and admitted he was “negligent” and “wrong” for failing to scan the items. However, he said it was never his intention to steal.
“Now, the agreement that was reached today acknowledges that I was negligent, and I was careless in scanning items, and that, in fact, makes me wrong. Therefore, because I was wrong, from the beginning, I expressed to the State that I would pay full restitution for those items including additional fees,” the statement read. “...A failure to scan items such as Skittles, butterfingers, and $20 dollar headphones, if I didn’t pay for an item, I am wrong. It was never my intent to not scan these items. I can’t express enough that I do understand the gravity of this moment.”
Keith said he had been the victim of hate mail and been called “every name in the book of racial slurs” since his arrest. He closed his statement by apologizing for his actions and promising to do better moving forward.
“While this moment does not define me, I have learned from it," he outlined. "I am wiser and better because of it, I have grown. As I have stated before, I am a better man today than I was on February 2nd, 2023. Though my public growth comes with public growing pains, I believe the lessons that I am learning will far outweigh the trials I have had to endure to receive them. Again, I apologize, but moreover, I’m grateful. God bless you, God bless Huntsville, Alabama.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the full text of Councilman Devyn Keith's statement.
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