Day 2 of Keith Graves’ trial

Jury Box in a court room. Photo courtesy of
Jury Box in a court room. Photo courtesy of

Andrew Sheeler continues his coverage of the first full day of Keith Graves’ trial, which is day #2. If you are following this story, you will want to read Jury hears witness testimony in first full day of Graves’ trial in the Bismarck Tribune.

Lead off witness describes the incident that has gotten publicity before. Mr. Graves allegedly met her in Sydney and drove her to Williston. When she tried to talk another woman into leaving with her, Mr. Graves allegedly waved around a handgun, had the other woman inject the witness with methamphetamines, and threatened to kill both women with a miniature metal baseball bat if they left him.

The handgun subsequently turned out to be a BB gun which was found in a search of the home of former-pastor Jay Reinke on July 31. Both the BB gun and aluminum bat are mentioned in the forfeiture allegation of the criminal indictment.

A December 2014 article in the Dickinson Press by Amy Dalrymple (link was here but article has been taken off-line) describes this woman’s story. Police involvement with her was the first awareness police had of Mr. Graves’ activities.

She ran away when she had a chance, making it to the Williston Wal-mart, where staff called the police. That happened on July 29, 2014. How did she know Mr. Graves? This woman met two other women while they were all confined in the Rugby jail. The other women knew Mr. Graves. Obviously they gave a referral. The witness then met Mr. Graves at a bar in Sydney on July 25. Info in this paragraph is from the December 2014 Dickinson Press article.


I just put together the following timeline. It shows how quickly the case developed. All of this in summer of 2014:

  • Sometime earlier than late-July – witness met two women in Rugby jail who knew Mr. Graves
  • July 25 – witness met Mr. Graves in Sydney and he drove her to Williston
  • July 29 – witness contacted police at Wal-mart
  • July 31 – BB gun found in Jay Reinke’s home during a search
  • August 1 – Mr. Graves arrested by Williston police on state charges (Article I read on 8/2/14 said he was arrested on previous Friday, which had to be 8/1)

Self-representation is not a smart idea

From Mr. Sheeler’s article on day two of the trial, the cross-examination of the witness did not go well. Article says there were multiple challenges from both the judge and US Attorney to Mr. Graves’ questioning.

The judge told Mr. Graves just repeating the testimony is forcing the witness to relive the event, which will not be allowed. Mr. Graves’ reason is he needs the extra comments to prove inconsistency later.

While the jury was on break, the judge identified the treatment of the witness as badgering. The judge also advised Mr. Graves his line of questioning was actually hurting his case. He is quoted as saying:

“How are these questions helping you?”

When a judge is cautioning you that you are hurting yourself with your line of questioning, it’s time to take a hint. Article does not say whether Mr. Graves got the clue when he was hit with a foam clue-bat.

The judge also chastised Mr. Graves for submitting his witness list on the second day of trial.

Mr. Graves is representing himself with a backup attorney appointed to help him. Does anyone have any idea where the self-representation is grounds for appeal based on ineffective counsel?

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