ELLSWORTH – A young Bar Harbor man convicted of killing and raping his teen-aged friend and fellow Mount Desert Island High School classmate was sentenced Wednesday and will be an old man before he is ever free again.
Around 45 family members and friends of murder victim Mikaela Conley, 19, also from Bar Harbor, were in the Hancock County Superior Courtroom during the sentencing of Jalique Keene – the man who took her life.
“Our lives were forever altered,” said Kiana Baranowski, a family friend. “The detective said those words no parent ever wants to here, ‘We found her body.’ I watched my best friend, her mother, die in that moment.”
Conley’s stepfather was also present for the horrible news.
“I fell to my knees and cried,” said Ernest Geiger, who raised Conley after marrying her mom. “My life would never be the same. Her life had been taken less than 200 yards from where I was sleeping. On the grounds of the grade school she had gone to and the playground all my children played on.”
He added, “Her murderer was a friend, one she put trust into who as it turns out was nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A monster in its purest form.”
Conley’s mother, Danielle Timoney, said her entire family is still grieving.
“Now, we don’t trust,” Timoney said. “We live a life now where we’re avoided at times. People avert their eyes. Longtime friends and some family are distant. No one knows how to talk to us anymore.”
Keene was sentenced to 58 years in prison for brutally beating and raping Conley.
“We thought that was appropriate given the horrible nature of the crime,” said Meg Elam, assistant attorney general who argued that Keene get life in prison.
Keene also got a concurrent 30 years for raping her.
The teenager’s beaten and bruised body was found in a wooded area near her hometown’s elementary-middle school on June 2, 2018, the day after she was reported missing.
During the trial and at his sentencing Keene denied hurting the girl he went to high school with.
“I think Jalique Keene proved today that he is exactly the person we thought he was before,” Elam said. “He is a self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing psychopath.”
Justice Robert Murray added 10 years to his base sentence because Keene never took responsibility for the crime, even though he was caught on video surveillance cameras at the school.
“It’s a chilling example of a lack of responsibility, the acceptance of responsibility by this defendant,” Murray said.
The judge and the prosecutor said now the family and the community can heal.