HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Court records show that Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith, facing four misdemeanor theft charges, entered a not-guilty plea Monday and waived his right to an arraignment hearing.
Keith, the two-term District 1 council member, was charged after he allegedly stole items from Walmart stores, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). The case was investigated by the Huntsville Police Department (HPD), but the sheriff’s office handled the arrest warrants given Keith’s position with the City.
Keith was arrested and charged with fourth-degree theft on February 2, for allegedly shoplifting at a Walmart on University Drive. That charge is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and a maximum $6,000 fine.
The next week, new charges were filed, citing three alleged thefts dating back to last year. And, the Huntsville City Attorney’s office said it was not pursuing the Feb. 2 charge in Huntsville Municipal Court. Instead, that charge was included in the list of warrants this week to be heard by a Madison County District Court.
Keith’s alleged thefts total up to $491, according to court documents. He turned himself in for the three additional warrants on Feb. 8.
The councilman released a statement Feb. 3 saying in part, “Yesterday, after purchasing items at the self-checkout at Walmart, I left the store with a 20$ pair of headphones in my cart that I failed to pay for. I respect the professionalism of the Walmart staff and law enforcement officers involved with this matter.”
HPD said to “avoid any perception of, or potential for, conflict of interest,” the Madison County District Attorney’s Office will be handling the case.
Keith apologized during a city council meeting on Feb. 9, saying that he was sorry that because of his actions, city officials have had to deal with things outside of their job description.
“I am sorry to every city employee, every director that I’ve had lunch with and moved heavens and earth with to make a difference in my community. I am sorry to every police officer that was impacted and every city employee that was impacted by the ripple effect of situations in my life,” said Keith.
On Feb. 24, Keith was removed as chair of the finance committee and his request to travel to Washington, D.C. was denied during a regular city council meeting.
Court records filed Tuesday show a bench trial has been set for May 10 at 1:30 p.m.