Judge rejects habitual criminal status for repeat offender

Mugshot courtesy Washoe County jail
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RENO, NV (KOLO) A Sparks man has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison after an extensive criminal history that led the prosecutor to ask for life in prison based on habitual criminal status.

45-year-old Keith Sullivan was convicted after trial on charges of Grand Larceny of an Auto, Burglary, and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. Sullivan also pleaded guilty to a related Grand Larceny charge.

Deputy District Attorney Carrie Morton argued for habitual criminal status for Sullivan based on a background that includes 17 felony convictions spanning 24 years. Instead, Washoe District Judge Barry Breslow sentencing him to 20 years in prison with parole eligibility after eight years, plus a consecutive 2.5 years in prison with parole eligibility after one year.

The recent felony cases against Sullivan began in January 2018, when detectives with the Northern Nevada Repeat Offender Unit were alerted to suspicious activity, according to the Washoe County District Attorney's Office. Sullivan had created a disturbance at the Reno Police Department front desk the day before, while he was registering as a convicted felon. While doing so, Sullivan was vague about his current address, stating he was “all over” and bragging to civilian RPD staff that he was a fourteen-time convicted felon, the only one in Reno who was not a “habitual.”

Detectives began surveillance on Sullivan and identified him leaving RPD driving a stolen vehicle with fake plates that had been stolen
from an automotive dealership. Detectives took him into custody after he tried to get away. A search of the vehicle Sullivan was driving led to the discovery of several items of stolen property that had been taken from the Renown Institute for Cancer a few days earlier.

Additional investigation identified Sullivan as the suspect in the Renown burglary, and detectives booked hims.

At sentencing, Morton presented recorded jail phone calls in which Sullivan said once he is released, he will continue to steal so he can buy controlled substances, and spoke of his hope of getting away with
his first crime once released. Morton argued habitual criminal status was appropriate, given Sullivan’s history, coupled with his statements, which she said showed his intent to continue his path as a career criminal.

But the judge went with the other sentence, saying the calls presented in court were an ill-advised attempt to show strength at a difficult time.

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