The Keeffes Murdered in Their Home (Pennsylvania)

Discussion in 'Crimes, Trials & Missing Persons' started by LurkerXIV, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Friday, November 24, 2006 — Time: 1:51:47 PM EDT

    Law firm sets $10K reward as police seek couple’s killer



    SAYRE — Attorney David Burke Keeffe and his wife were probably getting ready to go to their Cape Cod vacation home when they were killed Friday, a close friend said.

    Keeffe, 56, and his wife Carol Ann Keeffe, 60, were found shot to death at their Athens Township home late Sunday afternoon. Family members and neighbors had been unable to reach them for two days. (Obituaries, Page B-7.)

    An autopsy performed Monday confirmed the two died of shotgun wounds, according to a state police release.

    The killer or killers are still at large and being sought by state police and Athens Township police, who made the gruesome discovery.

    The DeSisti and Keeffe law firm, where Keeffe practiced with his father-in-law, Michael DeSisti, has posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. The reward is in addition to a Crime Stoppers reward being offered, according to state police.

    Anyone who may have been in the area of Moore Road between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, when police think the Keeffes were murdered, is asked to contact them or Crime Stoppers.

    Police would not comment further on details surrounding the case.

    Attorney Patrick Barrett III of Canton, a friend and colleague of Keeffe, said Tuesday he heard from a “reliable source†that the lawyer was found dressed in a suit in the garage of his home, at the end of a gated drive, and his wife was found in the kitchen.

    Barrett said he had no idea why anyone would want to kill the Keeffes, but he thought robbery had been ruled out as a motive, as he had heard nothing was missing from the house, located at the end of a private lane.

    “The place they live in has a security gate and the driveway was locked. There were three other families that lived on the property and no one heard or saw anything,†he said.

    Keeffe’s sister-in-law lives on a property nearby, Barrett said.

    Barrett said he and Keeffe had worked together often.

    “Though we have been adversaries in the courtroom, we did things together all the time. In fact, I just had lunch with him last week,†he said

    He heard about the death while at a bear hunting camp Monday.

    “He was well thought of as a gentleman and a very through and brilliant attorney,†Barrett said.

    Keeffe, an litigation specialist who had worked in his father-in law’s firm since 1975, represented clients in federal court in Williamsport and in Bradford County and Tioga County court, Barrett said.

    The family firm included his daughter and son-in-law, who both joined the firm in 2002, Barrett said.

    “He was a class act. I always enjoyed working with him,†Barrett added.

    Bob Gallagher, an attorney with Mitchell-Gallagher, Williamsport, said he had known David Keefe for 25 years, and that the man was “a lawyer of the first water.â€

    “He was the brightest lawyer I knew with a broad range of practice. He did everything well and conscientiously. He personified the highest ideals of the profession,†he said.

    Gallagher said he heard about the murders Monday morning, and was “dumbstruck.â€

    “It’s something you don’t expect. It was totally inexplicable. We were usually on opposite sides, but he was always professional, above-board and honest. I just couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to do this,†he said.

    Gallagher said Keeffe was always “genuinely concerned about his clients.â€

    “They were not just a file to him,†Gallagher said.

    Gallagher recalled that when he lost his own daughter in the explosion of Flight 800 over Long Island ten years ago, Keeffe made the two hour trip to Montoursville for the viewing.

    “That’s just the kind of person he was,†he said.

    Tioga County District Attorney John Cowley also had nothing but the highest praise for Keeffe.

    Cowley said he first met Keeffe in 1979 as an assistant district attorney for then-District Attorney Rudy van der Hiel.

    “He defended a young man at a trial in front of Judge Kemp,†Cowley said. “He really took representing people seriously.â€

    Cowley said he was “shocked†at the news.

    “Obviously this is an adversarial position and sometimes people have outcomes they don’t like but he’s not the type of person who would create a lot of anger,†he said.

    Attorney Ray Ginn, of Ginn and Vickery, Wellsboro, was a colleague and a friend who also knew Keeffe for 25 years.

    “We both came from the same part of the country just outside of Boston, Mass.,†he said. Keeffe would represent personal injury plaintiffs, Ginn the defendants.

    “He always approached cases in a reasonable manner, and we were able to resolve many cases together,†he said.

    “He’s the last person you could get mad at,†he added. inn said this is “the greatest tragedy personally that I know of.â€
  2. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    The Keeffes

  3. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    David's Obit

    David Burke Keeffe

    David Burke Keeffe, 56, of Sayre, passed away unexpectedly with his wife, Carol Ann DeSisti Keeffe, Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 at their home in Sayre.

    David was born Jan. 5, 1950 in Cambridge, Mass., and married the former Carol Ann DeSisti on July 10, 1971.

    David graduated from Syracuse University in 1971 and had practiced law with his father-in-law, Michael J. DeSisti, at the DeSisti & Keeffe Law Firm since graduating from Suffolk Law School in 1975. David truly loved the law and his work was a passion. He was a devoted family man and loved books, reading, theatre, spending time in Cape Cod and spending time with his grandchildren.

    David was an active litigation attorney and was certified as both a Civil and Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. David has been an active member of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and served on its Board of Governors from the mid 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. David was a past officer of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyer’s Association and was the current President of the Bradford County Bar Association. David practiced law in federal and state courts in both Pennsylvania and New York. He worked on all cases, big and small, with the same gusto and intensity. He took his job very seriously and believed that it was important to give everyone access to the justice system.

    David was a member of the Sayre chapter of UNICO, a former director of the Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company in Williamsport from 1981-1995, he supported numerous local charities and causes, and he was a member of the Church of the Epiphany in Sayre.


    A memorial service for David and Carol will be held Saturday, Nov. 25, at 9:30 a.m. at the Church of the Epiphany, S. Elmer Ave., Sayre. A private interment will be held in St. James Cemetery, Waverly, N.Y. There are no calling hours.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be directed to the Sayre Public Library, 122 S. Elmer Ave., Sayre, PA 18840 or the Sayre chapter of UNICO to the attention of Mario Conte, Secretary/Treasurer, 206 Allison St., Sayre, PA 18840 in David Burke Keeffe’s memory.
  4. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Carol's Obit

    Carol Ann Keeffe

    Carol Ann DeSisti Keeffe, 60, of Sayre Hill, Sayre, passed away unexpectedly with her husband, David B. Keeffe, Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 at their home in Sayre.

    Carol was born Aug. 16, 1946 in Waverly, N.Y. and married David B. Keeffe on July 10, 1971. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1968 and taught senior high English in Syracuse and in Melrose, Mass., until 1975.

    Carol was absolutely devoted to her family. She was a partner to her husband, a “mom†to many and the foundation that held all together with her love and kindness. Carol took great pride in helping her children achieve success, always stressing the importance of education. Her passion for family and teaching was shared with her nieces who summered with her at Cape Cod. She spent hours in her garden and was a fantastic Italian cook. She and her husband David were frequent visitors to New York City where they enjoyed sharing their love of the theater and fine dining with family and friends.

    Her family and many friends always found support in her advice and wisdom.


    A memorial service for Carol and David will be held Saturday, Nov. 25, at 9:30 a.m. at the Church of the Epiphany, S. Elmer Ave., Sayre. A private interment service will be held in St. James Cemetery, Waverly, N.Y. There are no calling hours.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be directed to the Sayre Public Library, 122 S. Elmer Ave., Sayre, PA 18840 or the Sayre chapter of UNICO to the attention of Mario Conte, Secretary/Treasurer, 206 Allison St., Sayre, PA 18840 in Carol Ann DeSisti Keeffe’s memory.
  5. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    A Tragedy in God's Country

    I'd like to know what kind of scum entered the Keeffe's home uninvited last Friday and murdered this wonderful couple in cold blood.

    My guess is the detritus that roams secluded wooded areas in PA. (and other states), breaking into homes, and looking to steal guns and money, then killing whoever tries to stop them.

    We get a crime like this up here about once a year. I hope the SOB left enough of a trail for the State Police to apprehend him very soon.
  6. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Investigation Ongoing

    Investigation into double homicide continues


    SAYRE — Police were saying little Monday as the investigation continues into Friday’s double homicide of Sayre attorney David Keeffe, 56, and his wife, Carol, 60.

    The Keeffes were found dead in their home near Moore Road in Athens Township Sunday afternoon by township police, who had been asked to investigate Sunday afternoon after neighbors had not seen the couple all day Saturday.

    Results of an autopsy conducted Monday indicate that the Keeffes died of gunshot wounds sometime between 2 and 7 p.m. Friday, according to a late-day release from state police Monday.

    Keeffe was a partner with the DeSisti and Keeffe law firm in Sayre and was the president of the Bradford County Bar Association.

    A woman who answered the phone at the law firm Tuesday said the firm had no comment.

    ‘‘They were the most wonderful, caring and generous people you ever wanted to meet,’’ Melissa Keeffe said of her parents in a brief phone interview with The Associated Press on Monday night. Melissa Keeffe, who also is an attorney, worked at her father’s firm.

    Melissa Keeffe said she was instructed by police not to talk about the investigation.

    A phone message left Monday night at the office of Bradford County Coroner Gordon Farr was not immediately returned.

    State police at Towanda and Athens Township police are investigating the homicide. Neither had further comment Monday. Anyone with information is asked to contact Athens Township police, state police or Crime Stoppers.

    David Keeffe was a 1971 graduate of Syracuse University and a 1975 cum laude graduate of Suffolk University.

    He was a member of the Pennsylvania and American bar associations, former treasurer of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association Board of Governors, 1985-1999; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

    David Keeffe was a former director of Commonwealth Bank and Trust Co. in Williamsport from 1981-1995.

    He joined the firm in 1975 as partner, expanding its trial practice in state and federal courts.
  7. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Initial News Article

    SAYRE -- Athens Township and state police are investigating a double homicide in Athens Township involving a prominent attorney and his wife.

    Township police found David Keeffe, 56, and his wife, Carol, 60, dead in their home near Moore Road at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a state police news release.

    Keeffe was with the DeSisti and Keeffe law firm here and was president of the Bradford County Bar Association.

    Police are not saying how the couple was killed until the results of an autopsy scheduled for today become available.

    No one from the township police department was available to comment this morning, but state police said they did not know why police were called to the residence or how the couple was found.

    A news conference may be held as more information becomes available, state police said.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the Athens Township or state police.
  8. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    That's weird that a gated community only had three other families living there. It must be a new one, up and coming real estate? Jeez, I'd think those places would be safe. Nothing was missing. That's weird, too.

    You know what I missed in the obits? Survivors, like parents or kids. They are always listed in obits down here. But one of the articles said there is a daughter.
  9. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    Carol Ann DeSisti - that's an unusual name, DeSisti. I don't think I've ever heard it before.
  10. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator


    The names of their children and grandchildren are in the obits. You can read them at the links. I didn't think it prudent to name them here, so I snipped the article. There is still someone out there, and probably not too far away, who murdered this gracious couple.

    The reward has been increased to $50,000.

    The private gated complex where they lived is the home of immediate family. But I guess the houses are far apart, on acres of ground, and separated by a lot of trees. (That's how it looks on GOOGLE maps). The De Sistis are a prominent family in that town. Carol's father has been a lawyer there for decades. The Keeffe's daughter and son are both lawyers with the firm.

    It seems to me like the Keeffe's came up the drive and into the garage and surprised one or more burglars. I hope the burglars were dumb enough to leave their own evidence--fingerprints, hair, bootprints, etc.
  11. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    Well, duh me about the survivors in the obits. :) I don't know if I'd think whoever murdered them is still hanging around. Could be, that's for sure.

    "Attorney Patrick Barrett III of Canton, a friend and colleague of Keeffe, said Tuesday he heard from a “reliable source†that the lawyer was found dressed in a suit in the garage of his home, at the end of a gated drive, and his wife was found in the kitchen."

    Maybe he was leaving or returning home from work, since she was in the kitchen? One of the articles said they were probably leaving for the weekend. Murdered on Friday, and found on Sunday. Dang.
  12. JustChillun

    JustChillun Member

    Perhaps if they were expected to be away for the weekend no one expected them anywhere until their scheduled time of return.
  13. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    JC, JustChillun

    It does seem as if the entire family expected that they had left for Cape Cod on Friday. Otherwise, someone surely would have been stopping in earlier than Sunday, with all the relatives around.

    Too bad. The trail had gone somewhat cold.

    However, I remember that Miriam Illes was murdered on a Friday night, not discovered until Sunday, and her killer (her husband) was caught and prosecuted.

    And that leads me to another thought: Perhaps the murderer knew of their plans, and that no one would notice their absence until Sunday, giving him plenty of time to get away, establish an alibi, and then seem shocked at the discovery of the bodies.

    If so, it was not a random stranger who killed them.
  14. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    They didn't get to their weekend destination. I don't guess anyone was expecting them on the Cape Cod side.
  15. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Reward Raised

    The reward has been raised to $100,000. The Bradford County Bar Association, of which David Keeffe was president, contributed $50,000 today.

    JC, you are probably right that no one was expecting them at the Cape Cod home. I guess it was supposed to be a quiet weekend away, just the two of them.

    Seems like all who knew this couple are stumped. They had no known enemies. Nothing was stolen from the house. What could the motive have been?
  16. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Daughter Speaks Out

    Melissa Keeffe talked to Newswatch 16's Jon Meyer about the death of her parents.

    Monday, November 27, 6 p.m.
    By Jon Meyer

    The murder investigation of prominent attorney David Keeffe and his wife in Bradford County has been intense since their bodies were found last week.

    Tuesday the Bradford County Bar Association will hold a news conference about the deaths.

    David and Carol Keeffe's daughter, Melissa, moved back to Bradford County four years ago to work with her dad and raise her children near her parents.

    Now she is left mourning her mom and dad's death and helping police investigate the double murder.

    From now on, the Keeffe home in Athens Township will be known to many as the place where David and Carol Keeffe were killed; gunned down inside their garage. But their daughter Melissa holds on to the memories there, cherishing the time she shared with mom and dad.

    "They were wonderful people, not only my parents, and my children's grandparents, but they were friends of ours. I don't know many people who can say they were good friends with their parents," Melissa Keeffe explained.

    Her grandfather started the law firm "DeSisti and Keeffe" in 1946. Her dad joined more than 30 years ago. Melissa and her husband returned to be the third generation and to learn from her father.

    "He would always do work for free or if he felt someone needed representation and believed in the cause. He grew up Boston Irish-Catholic and had a great heart. If he believed in the cause he would take it on," she said.

    While her dad was the public face of the family and the president of the Bradford County Bar Association, mom Carol meant just as much to Melissa.

    "She always knew the right thing to do, she always sent the perfect gift, wrote the perfect card, or did the perfect thing. If she were here she'd know exactly how to handle this and I'm trying so hard to do this how my mom would have done it," Melissa said.

    Now with a killer still on the loose, Melissa and her family try to push on, and carry on the firm's tradition in Bradford County.

    "I know my dad would be here carrying on and doing this and moving on, he'd say you can't live in fear and I can't let who ever did this affect the way he would have wanted us to live, and the way he lived," stressed Melissa.

    The DeSisti and Keeffe law firm has upped its reward offer for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case to $50,000.
  17. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    One Theory

    State Police: Keeffe's Were Targeted

    Athens Township

    Pennsylvania State Police say the murder weapon used to kill a prominent Valley lawyer and his wife, was a shotgun. Investigators are also convinced that the killer, or killers, crossed paths with David and Carol Keeffe at some point in the past.

    Word of the murders of the Keeffe's has spread quickly in the Valley. While neighbors formulate their own speculations, state police are working to catch the killer that they feel targeted the Keeffe's from the start.

    "You don't expect this to happen here," Ruth Murphy of Athens said. " It's happened other places, far away, but this happening here?"

    "It's been suggested that it possibly could've been a client that was disgruntled, that wasn't happy with a case or something?" Alice Bustin of Milan said.

    "Yeah, that's what people are wondering," Murphy added. " Because they knew right where they lived, and apparently they knew they couldn't drive in, they had to walk in."

    As word of the Keeffe's murder spreads, and all the rumors and speculation that comes with it, Pennsylvania State Police say they wont confirm or deny any of the reports spreading in the community. But they do say the community probably has the answers they need to bring the Keeffe's killer to justice.

    "We believe that this was a very specific act, we don't believe that there's a random killer on the loose or anything like that," Lt. Frank Hacken of the Pennsylvania State Police said. "At some point in time we believe the victim and the person or persons involved in this crime have had some type of interaction."

  18. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    "Pennsylvania State Police say they wont confirm or deny any of the reports spreading in the community."

    So, were they both shot in the garage or was the wife in the kitchen? Guess they aren't sayin'.

    "But they do say the community probably has the answers they need to bring the Keeffe's killer to justice."

    It would be foolish to think that someone in his/their position would not have enemies, imho. Nothing was taken, but a part of me thinks it must be about money or some deal gone bad.

    Or, here's a wild thought - what if one or the other were having an affair and their "other" got :(:(:(:(y, just did them both in. :did: :banme:
  19. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    I don't know, JC.

    They were purported to be totally devoted to each other.

    It does seem very personal, though. Both were shot twice, in the face, with a shotgun. That's usually a sign that there was a very personal connection--the damage to the face.

    If, for some crazy reason, it were a hitman, the wounds would have been different. Revolver shots to the back of the head, maybe.

    But who knows???
  20. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Here's a tidbit...

    ...about a case David Keeffe was working on:

    He was representing the family of one of two truck drivers killed in June floods in southern New York state, according to The Daily Star in Oneonta, N.Y. He had recently filed a wrongful death suit against the New York Department of Transportation on behalf of the family of David Swingle, 42, of Waverly, N.Y. Swingle was killed along with Patrick O'Connell, 55, of Lisbon, Maine, when their trucks fell into a section of Interstate 88 in Sidney, N.Y., on June 28. The road collapsed when a culvert washed out, and defective pavement was deemed the cause, according to the newspaper's online edition Sunday.
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