Keville sentenced to life in prison after a courtroom outburst

Craig Keville enters the courtroom at the start of his February 2023 murder trial.

Craig Keville enters the courtroom at the start of his February 2023 murder trial. Lisa D. Connell—The Berlin Sun

By LISA D. CONNELL

The Berlin Sun

Published: 04-11-2024 11:52 AM

The somber mood of a courtroom sentencing trial was broken as convicted double-homicide defendant Craig Keville responded to a man’s comment as Keville was being led from the courtroom after being sentenced to two, consecutive life sentences on April 5.

Keville, 35, of Berlin, was sentenced April 5 by Judge Peter H. Bornstein for his first-degree murders of Holly Banks and Keith Labelle on April 27, 2022. He was also sentenced on three class B felony counts of falsifying physical evidence and one misdemeanor simple assault. Keville was found guilty after a near-three week trial on Feb. 28, 2024.

Keville was given consecutive sentences of life without the possibility of parole on each of the first-degree murder convictions, one consecutive stand committed sentence of 3½ to 7 years on a charge of falsifying physical evidence for disposing of the firearm used in committing the murders, two suspended sentences of 3½ to 7 years on each of the remaining falsifying physical evidence charges, and a sentence of 12 months stand committed on the simple assault charge.

“If you have any sense of honor….,” the man shouted out to Keville after victim impact statements had been made by the families of victims Holly Banks and Keith LaBelle

Keville hollered out a two-word swear, as he struggled to break free from the bailiffs escorting him. Another court safety officer cautioned the man who called out to Keville to stop.

Minutes later, the man left the courtroom with the court officer following him out of the courtroom as a handcuffed via waistband Keville was led away. A court clerk sent another court safety officer or bailiff out to check on the other court employee. Everyone else who attended the hour-long sentencing hearing in the courtroom for a few minutes.

It was the first time Keville had said anything since the trial that led to his conviction Feb. 28. He did not testify on his own behalf. Keville did not speak to the court or victim’s family during the April 5 sentencing.

Assistant Attorney General Adam L. Woods, who prosecuted the case with Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Chong Yen, said three text messages Keville sent to his mother after fatally shooting Banks and LaBelle at Banks' home at 624 North Main St. in Gorham on April 27, 2022, establishes his guilt.

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“I’m sorry. I am going away forever. I did something really bad,” read Woods. “He acknowledged the damage he had done. One shot to Holly Banks and eight shots to Keith LaBelle.”

“It is a tragic and deadly culmination of Holly and her life,” Woods told the court.

The gun used to kill Banks and LaBelle has never been found. Keville was also convicted of destroying evidence.

“The deadly weapon is still missing and can be anywhere,” said Woods, “to cover up the brutal and violent murders against Holly and Keith.”

For the families of Banks, 28, and LaBelle, 42, Beverly LaBelle, Keith’s mother, addressed the court first. Beyond issuing a sentence, a sentencing hearing allows victims to speak about the impact of the crime on them.

“Our lives will never be the same,” she said, earlier speaking of LaBelle’s youngest son’s loss of his father. “The memories of his life are all that we have. Keith had a big heart and kindness that is foreign to you. You will now begin to pay the consequence of your actions.”

Beverly LaBelle read the statement of Karyn Chiachio, her daughter and Keith’s sister.

“Brothers and sisters have a relationship,” she began while tears prevented Chiachio from reading. “We have learned and grown together…we learned about parenthood together.”

Chiachio’s loss came through: “A brother is more than a sibling — he is an extension of myself.”

Tammy Robson and Kaydence Sawyer, Holly Banks’ daughter, addressed the court individually via the digital WebEX platform.

“We did everything together,” said Kaydence Sawyer.

“My grandmother was my best friend too,” she said of her grandmother, Tammy Robson. The young girl spoke of how the relationship between granddaughter and grandmother is now uncomfortably different.

“I hate seeing her not being herself and not knowing what to do,” Kaydence said.

She said she feels anxiety and worry now, and not quite like her classmates and peers.

“I don’t want to be known as the girl whose mom died,” she said.

“I will never trust another person. Me and my brother have to live without my mom because of what you did,” said Kaydence.

“Our world has been forever changed,” said Robson of her daughter. “I miss her laugh, her smile.”

Robson continued, “When you took her life you took away my life.”

“It is our sincerest hope you’ll never get to take a free breath. God may forgive you, but we never will.”

Sherry Borgeson, one of Banks’ sisters — Holly is the youngest of five sisters — spoke of two families' losses.

“I’m sorry this is how we met, and we wish we could have known Keith,” Borgeson said.

She thanked prosecutors, police, the judge and in particular, the jury.

“It’s very important to our family that the jury knows how thankful we are to them,” said Borgeson.

John Bresaw, one of Keville's defense attorneys, spoke on his behalf, telling Bornstein that Keville had a tough childhood. Keville grew up without a father, and lived in project housing.

At age 19, Keville joined the U.S Army, and served two tours in Afghanistan. He had earned one college degree after his honorable discharge and was on the way to earning another degree, Bresaw said. Keville came out of his military service with PTSD and occasionally suffering blackouts.

Bresaw asked for a different sentence.

“Our request is that the court impose all the sentences concurrently,” Bresaw said.

Bornstein said usually after victim impact statements are heard and last remarks from prosecutors and the defense the court takes a recess before the judge announces a sentencing ruling.

In this case, Bornstein said with the mandatory life sentences for the murders, “that there is not a lot of discretion” with murder charges. The judge issued the sentence mandated by law.