Woman charged with hit-and-run death for killing Navy veteran

VIDEO: Woman charged with hit and run death for killing Navy veteran

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — Ali Giannini, 29, pleaded not guilty to hit and run death charges on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say Giannini killed Mike Keaton as he walked near Port Orchard on Saturday morning.

Keaton is a Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War. His family and friends filled the court room to honor Keaton and make sure he gets justice.

Giannini's bail was set at $750,000. Prosecutors say she is a flight risk.

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Keaton's family called him "Pop Pop." They say he started walking to lose weight so he would be healthy and stay alive to see his grandchildren grow up. He walked every day, but Sunday, that's when he went to church.

His family issued a statement on Tuesday:

"First and foremost, we would like to thank the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for their help in putting the pieces together to solve my dad’s case. Thank you to the local media for sharing our story and helping to get the word out.

"We would also like to thank the community; every single person who saw our pleas and shared our posts helped get the leads we needed to find and arrest the person responsible. We cannot thank you all enough for the support and help you have given our family.

"Our faith in the Lord will help us through this incredibly dark time. At this time, we ask for privacy as our family begins the healing process now that an arrest has been made. We ask that any further questions be directed to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

"Lastly, we ask that you honor our Pop-Pop’s memory by a simple smile or a wave to a stranger to continue spreading his light.

"Thank you,
Carolyn, Allison and Tawnie Keaton."

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A family is pleading for answers after a car struck and killed a pedestrian and then fled the scene Saturday morning near Port Orchard.

Michael Keaton, a Gulf War veteran was on his daily walk along busy Sidney Road near Port Orchard early Saturday morning when he was struck and killed.

"We're angry because we don't understand how someone could have done this to him," said Tawnie Ploe. "We're hurt."

It was easy to hear the pain in Ploe's voice when she spoke to KIRO 7's Deborah Horne on Sunday.

Ploe's 61-year-old father, a retired Naval officer, was on his six-day-a-week walk early Saturday morning, facing traffic, wearing a yellow safety vest.

"There is no reason that someone could say, 'Oh, I didn't see him, because everyone saw him," she said. "You couldn't miss him."

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Surveillance video from nearby Empire Pizza shows the suspect's white vehicle, believed to be a later model Chevy Cruze, drive by.

According to those who watched the entire video, it shows the vehicle coming straight for Keaton.

Keaton raised his arms, tried to get out of the way, but the vehicle struck him and kept going.

"So my dad took every precaution," Ploe said, her voice breaking.  "And still this person took my dad."

Now Keaton's daughter wants help finding that driver, who was identified later Sunday by the Kitsap County Sheriff's office as Giannini.

"It's just an indescribable feeling to have someone torn from you in such a violent manner," Ploe said. "And to know the person who did this doesn't even have the common decency to call for help. Nothing could have been done. But make the call. Don't leave him laying there for half an hour."

She said her father lost 100 pounds walking on the roadway. He wanted to be around to watch his grandchildren grow up.

His death is affecting people on both sides of Puget Sound. Keaton worked as an IT analyst at Providence Renton Medical Center.