Local News

February 21, 2014

Denton gets 10 years in drag-race death, rape

ELIZABETHTOWN — For causing the death of one young woman in a crash during a speed contest, and raping another, Keith P. Denton will spend up to 10 years in state prison.

Denton, 20, of Elizabethtown, appeared in Essex County Court Thursday morning to be sentenced on his guilty pleas to felony criminally negligent homicide, felony second-degree rape and misdemeanor sexual misconduct.

Dressed in a dark suit and tie, he sat at the defense table staring downward during most of the proceeding.


Denton admitted he was speeding north on a flat stretch of roadway near Kingdom Dam in Elizabethtown on County Route 7 (Lincoln Pond Road) just before 10 p.m. on June 23, 2012, when he lost control of his 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier, which went off the roadway, struck a tree and flipped over.

Nicole “Nikki” Baker, 17, of Standish, a backseat passenger, was partially ejected and pinned under the car. She died at the crash of severe internal injuries.

Denton’s car crashed after a speed contest that reached almost 100 miles an hour, according to the State Police report.

The report states that staff at Elizabethtown Community Hospital told them Denton said, “I’m going to f---ing jail,” when he was brought in for treatment of injuries he sustained in the crash.


Judge Jerome Richards, specially presiding from St. Lawrence County, was on the bench because Essex County Judge Richard Meyer’s office had a conflict of interest.

Addressing the Baker family, some of whom were at the sentencing, Richards said that Baker got in Denton’s car to go for a ride, not for a race with another vehicle.

“There’s nothing I can do that would fix your pain,” the judge told them. “There’s nothing Mr. Denton can do that would fix your pain.”

Richards said he has seen many such cases in his court.

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