Manslaughter suspect Jean Keating, a fugitive for more than 15 years, pleaded no contest Monday in Linn County Circuit Court to second-degree manslaughter and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Keating, 54, negotiated a plea deal through her attorney Forrest Reid and prosecutor Ryan Lucke. She faced other charges, which were dropped by Judge DeAnn Novotny. Those charges were first-degree manslaughter, two counts of reckless driving and three counts of recklessly endangering another person.
Lucke said Keating’s sentencing is set for 1:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7.
On April 13, 1997, Keating was driving on Interstate 5 near Viewcrest Drive when her station wagon veered right and hit a car driven by Jewel Anderson, 65, of Dexter.
Anderson lost control of her Buick Regal and her vehicle went through the center median and was struck in the driver’s side by a Lincoln Continental. Three Scio residents in the Lincoln were taken to a hospital.
Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Keating’s two children, then toddlers, were in the car with her, and were listed as victims in the case.
Earlier this year, a constable in Minnedosa, Canada, began investigating a rumor that a local woman in the town of about 2,500 people was really a fugitive from the United States.
In Canada, Keating was going by the name of Jean McPherson. She had been arrested several times in Canada and convicted of impaired driving. At one point, her fingerprints were compared with Jean Keating’s, and a match was confirmed.
She was taken into custody last April and deportation proceedings were started. She was taken to the Linn County Jail. Judge Thomas McHill set bail at $5 million.
She remains in the jail.