Former Montague County sheriff who was facing jail time collapses, dies

Former Montague County Sheriff Bill Keating, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sexually assaulting a woman, has died, apparently from a heart attack. He was 62.

Keating collapsed just after 6 p.m. Thursday at his home in Forestburg, about 85 miles northwest of Dallas, said Chief Deputy J.T. Mitchell of the Montague County Sheriff’s Department.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy, but Mitchell said it appeared that the ex-sheriff died of natural causes.

In February, a Montague County grand jury returned a 106-count indictment against the former sheriff and 16 others. The indictment charged Keating, sheriff from 2004 until December, with official oppression and having sex with female inmates.

In one instance, according to federal authorities, Keating coerced a woman into performing oral sex on him by promising not to arrest her after deputies found drug paraphernalia in her house.

He pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation in that case and was expected to be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison at a hearing on June 22.

He had not entered a plea on the Montague County charges. The others indicted in that case include several guards, mostly women, who were charged with various offenses involving sex or drugs and other contraband. Inmates also were charged.

Mark Daniel, Keating’s attorney, said his client was working outside Thursday evening when he began to feel lightheaded. Keating’s wife helped him into the house, where he collapsed a few minutes later, the lawyer said.

An ambulance transported him to Bowie Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


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