MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The man convicted for eight felonies stemming from a Collierville home invasion will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Curtis Keller was convicted in November 2011. On Feb. 28, He was sentenced to 240 years in prison.
As an admitted drug trafficker, Keller's defense in his sentencing hearing was that he only wanted his stolen marijuana back. That explanation didn't get him far.
No stranger to the law, 49-year-old Keller has a criminal history going back decades. In May 2010, he was out of jail on a $300,000 bond when he kicked in the door of a Collierville home, demanded money and held two adults and two children hostage with a gun.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Christiansen told abc24.com, "(The victim's) lives are altered permanently, they have bars on their windows, keep a chair under their door knob at night. The little boy with a gun to his head is terrified."
One of the boys was able to call police with a cell phone from a closet. Christiansen believes if it weren't for that, the family wouldn't be alive.
Keller took the stand in his own defense, but instead of remorse he made excuses. "They were told by Eric Christiansen what to say. Then the momma got up (on the stand) and cried, all because that's what he told them to do to get a conviction," he said. Keller then tried to convince the judge, "Each one of them lied, purged testimony, each one of the victims."
Keller's lawyer asked Judge James Lammey for mercy, but the judge's response wasn't what Keller hoped for. "There has to be something given from the other side which shows that someone is truly remorseful," Judge Lammey said. "Unfortunately for Mr. Keller he's trying to justify doing this because someone stole his weed and that somehow justifies him going into a house and terrorize everyone in the house."
Christiansen says the maximum punishment of 240 years in prison is an important example. "Our goal is to send a message to different groups in the community," Christiansen explains, "One, people like Curtis that would lead a life of crime like he has. He's had so many chances over the years. Send a message to them we're coming after them. And to the good people, we're trying to do something about the crime that plagues our city and county."
This will not be Keller's last court appearance. He has another trial at the end of March for a Germantown home invasion; that is a 17 count indictment.