The Keeffes Murdered in Their Home (Pennsylvania)

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

  1. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Did the Keeffes Know Their Killer?

    Expert: Keeffes likely knew their killer


    The degree of violence shown in a murder can help authorities determine whether or not the killer knew his or her victim, according to W. Scott Thornsley, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice at Mansfield University.

    “The more overkill the murder is, the more personal the crime has become for the killer,†Thornsley said.

    “Only a small percentage of murders in the United States are carried out by strangers,†he added.

    Based off of this assessment, Thornsley said it was likely that the David and Carol Keeffe knew their killers. The Keeffes died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head –– which state police said were inflicted by a shotgun.

    “I suspect the local police have already gone through a list of family, friends, business associates, and clients of both parties,†he said.

    The police would then interview the individuals on the list “to see if anyone appears to be holding a grudge†against the Keeffes, Thornsley said.

    The police will probably use victimology to help identify the murderer, he said.

    According to Thornsley, the process of victimology involves examining the life of the victims, including their relationships and financial situation.

    ©Daily and Sunday Review 2006
  2. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    A Month Has Gone By...

    ..since the Keeffes were found dead in their home. No new leads have surfaced in the case, despite the $100,000 reward being offered for information on who may have killed them.

    It will be a sad Christmas for the Keeffe and DeSisti families. They are in our thoughts and prayers.


    The $1,000 donation from Athens Townships general fund will go towards a $50,000 reward already being offered by the Bradford County Bar Association. Keeffe's law firm is offering a separate $50,000 reward, bringing the total to $100,000 for anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction in this double murder.

    If you have any information that may help investigators, you are asked to contact Pennsylvania State Police (570-265-2186), Athens Township Police (570-888-2200), or Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers at 1-800-4PA-TIPS.
  3. JustChillun

    JustChillun Member

    How easy would it be for a professional to access them within their home in a way that made it appear that there was no forced entry...and then use the element of surprise to make it look as if there was no struggle. After the first shotgun blast there was no more surprise so the other person would have to have been threatened into place before they received their fatal wound.
    This whole thing is sad.
    I hope to hear of progress made in this case.
  4. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

  5. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    The Keeffes Left a Fortune

    rom McGraw at CL:

    At the time of their deaths, according to published reports citing court documents filed in Towanda, Pa., David and Carol Keeffe left an estate estimated at more than $6.7 million, including their portion of the mountaintop compound, shared with relatives, where they were found slain last month.

    According to the reports, Melissa Keeffe and her brother, David Michael Keeffe, have been named co-executors of their father's $5 million estate, while Melissa is responsible for handling her mother's $1.786 million legacy.

    While such formidable wealth may have been unusual in the remote corner of northern Pennsylvania where the Keeffes lived, there is, according to several locals, little evidence that the Keeffes flaunted their success, nor is there any evidence that their killer or killers may have targeted them because of it.

    There was, according to some familiar with the probe, no sign of forced entry at the couple's home, nor any indication that they had been robbed before they were killed.


    Could inheritance issues provide a motive? While police are keeping a tight lid on the case, someone revealed to CL that search warrants have been issued in New York. If that means NYC, that is where the son lives.
  6. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    The crime seemed very personal... me. Multiple shotgun blasts to the face. Somebody really hated this lovely couple. Who? Why??

    "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.
  7. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    Those are interesting articles, Lurker.

    So I wonder what Melissa's husband does for a living. She didn't take her husband's name when she married, I don't guess.

    And I don't guess they were as close as some families. I mean, with them going to Cape Cod, I'd think one of the kids, at least some family member, some legal associate or someone, would have tried to check in with them sooner. Maybe all rich people aren't tied to the cell phone like I think they are.

    They were living on a secured compound. I think they had enemies, and they knew it.
  8. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    It's all very puzzling.

    The compound was very secure, with locking gates, motion lights, etc.

    The other two homes were within earshot. Why didn't anyone hear the shotgun blasts? Of course, it was hunting season, and shots would have been fairly common in a rural area like that.

    It seems like the PA State Police are quietly investigating and building their case before they arrest anyone, but from all I've read, it sounds like they have someone in mind.
  9. JC

    JC Superior Cool Member

    Maybe the sister and husband weren't home? And the parents are old, the mother ill. With them shot in the garage, so many trees around, and if a tv were on ...
  10. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Terrible case. It's not going to be pretty when they find the person who did this.

    I'm going to just throw out some ideas, if y'all don't mind, that occur to me.

    First, if he was in his suit and they had been dead two days by Sunday evening when they were found, sounds like he had just returned from work and was ambushed in the garage. The way it's written up, then the wife either heard it and came to see what happened and was shot, or she was in the car with him. I'm not clear on that, but I got the impression she was in the home rather than returning with him.

    If she was already home and they knew the killer, perhaps he/she was conversing with the wife and waiting on the husband, if it was planned. Then he went to the garage and shot him and she followed, and she was shot.

    I guess I'm thinking of someone from the family as possible perp. LE has to exclude them first, of course. But the wealth of the victims is motive. Are any of the heirs in financial trouble? Or did they harbor ill will for some reason? The daughter and son worked in the same firm, and it's possible jealousy or threat of firing, disagreements that happen in every family, could be motive, if there was some rift going on there. And there's mention of a sister-in-law living there, but no brother. Is he dead? Divorced? Was the SIL having troubles with the victims? Who inherits? You see, with BOTH dead, that inheritance kicks in immediately. If one survived, then that person has to die before the inheritance is fully realized. That's the best motive I can see off the top of my head, because of the murder of both at once. Even being angry at David Keeffe would not inspire many killers to go for his wife, as well. That would take a really cold-blooded murderer who probably has a history of violence or bad acts someone would know.

    I guess I'm wondering like y'all why no one bothered to check the home when the parents didn't answer any cell phone calls. A hit...I don't know. Kind of messy for a hit. Whoever shot them got very bloody. If the husband was the target, he could have been shot through his car window easily by a high powered rifle, sniper style, as he stopped to enter his code into the keypad at the gate. Much easier, and only if he was the only target, much less attention than two murders. Why kill two if you're only getting paid for one? If it was a sloppy hit done by a cheap operation, I guess that would explain that, though.

    But as y'all said, what about the noise? A shotgun blast is loud. From the description, each victim got more than one shot to the head. That's at least four shots. It would be awful lucky if none of the other homeowners were around to hear that. Or planned. That would take knowledge of the habits of everyone who lived in that compound.

    Or it could be a property dispute. A shotgun is a hunting weapon in rural areas. Maybe someone who hunted that area didn't like being shut out when the "rich people" bought the land and fenced and gated it. We had a hunter shoot one dog and try to hit a second when two women were out walking them on a path near their homes in a wooded area that's been developed nearby and also largely belongs to local gov't. now. It was no accident, as they found a tree-stand nearby for hunting and the women started screaming after the first shot to alert the hunter, but he shot again and they hit the dirt.

    And yeah, lawyers do get death threats, no matter how nice they are. Somebody loses in most cases. Either way, the lawyers take a lot of blame adversaries and clients.

    Then again, remember the two teens who decided to go on a murder spree some years back and knocked on the door of two well-loved and respected ivy league professors and murdered them for kicks, more or less?

    Well, that's just some ideas. People are crazy.
  11. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator's anyone's guess.

    The family members are being scrutinized, as with any thorough investigation.

    Any and all theories are open for speculation at this time.

    You did mention one that is plausible--a hunter who may have been chased off the property. But with all the vast public hunting venues in that area--state gamelands-- it seems unlikely.

    However, if it did go down that way, it wouldn't be the first time in PA. Several years back, a judge was shot point-blank by a hunter who was enraged by the judge's chasing him off the land.

    Also, I do remember the case where the two profs were killed in cold blood by those two teens looking for thrills. It does happen, even in the nicest neighborhoods and most protected homes.

    Who can forget the Clutter case, immortalized by Truman Capote in his book, "In Cold Blood"?
  12. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    From Cape Cod Today

    Keeffes' killer familiar with difficult terrain around their home
    Couple were headed for Cape Cod home when they were murdered

    ATHENS, Pa. - Who killed David and Carol Keeffe and why? The friends and family of David and Carol Keeffe are still struggling with these questions. It has been over a month since the couple was gunned down and authorities have not yet made an arrest.

    It was on the evening of Nov. 17, when David, 56, and Carol, 60, were shot at point-blank range in their garage. The two victims (in photo on right) were driving separate vehicles on the evening of the shooting, but authorities believe they both arrived home within minutes of one another. According to a source close to the investigation, Carol was shot first from behind, and then David was shot facing his killer. Authorities have not yet released the autopsy report, but according to the death certificates, both David and Carol died as a result of "multiple gunshot wounds to the head."

    ...The Keeffes' bodies were not found until two days after the shooting. It was only after their daughter, Melissa, was unable to get in touch with them, that the crime scene was discovered. When questioned by the authorities, neighbors of the Keeffes said they did not recall hearing any gunshots. Hunting season was beginning, so no one would have suspected anything even if they had noticed the shots. With the hunting season starting, plus the fact that the Keeffes were going to leave for their vacation home (on Monument Road, Orleans) in Cape Cod the following morning, you have a perfect window of opportunity for murders that could go undetected for several days... Read the rest of this CourtTV story here. Read the original Star-Gazette story of the double murder here.
  13. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    New Information

    I believe this is new information, at least to the public:

    The two victims ... were driving separate vehicles on the evening of the shooting, but authorities believe they both arrived home within minutes of one another. According to a source close to the investigation, Carol was shot first from behind, and then David was shot facing his killer. Authorities have not yet released the autopsy report.

    So, someone was lying in wait. That makes it Murder One.

    Maybe this case needs some national publicity.
  14. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Thanks, Lurker, for the news.

    I wonder if the family has all had polygraphs or if anyone has lawyered up?

    That shotgun is brutal.

    Yeah, murder one, because nobody shoots a person with a shotgun that close accidently, and then turns around and shoots their spouse as well.

    If the wife was shot first in the back, was she trying to get away, or just didn't see the killer and he/she got her from behind?

    Then the husband...shot in the face?

    I wonder what the positions of the bodies were. If in the garage with two cars, did they shut the garage door, or did the killer? If they did, then seems that would have muted the blast somewhat.

    Which makes me wonder if they both pulled in, one right after the other, or if one came home and was shot, then the next one came home and was shot.

    I'm wondering because if the wife came in first and was shot, then did the killer move her body before the husband drove in, so the husband wouldn't see it and be alerted immediately?

    Had they removed purse/briefcase, etc., from the vehicles, like they didn't see the killer before they got out of their cars? Or did they get out, leaving those types of items in the car? That would indicate they saw the killer and got out to speak with him/her, whether by force or unawares of the danger.

    Knowing these things might indicate if they knew the killer.

    And how did the killer get into the garage, anyway? Come under the door as it closed? Or was the killer waiting inside the garage when the wife pulled in? If there were indications the killer had been in there some time, that might be a good clue. Who knew when they'd be home?

    Since there was nothing missing, doesn't seem like they happened upon a burglary that went bad. Why wouldn't the killer try to make it look that way, if it was a straight out murder plot? That might confuse the issue, staging it that way. You know how staging messes up the cops. :winko:

    That no staging was done like that, to throw the cops off when it would have been easy enough, might indicate the killer didn't want to risk being caught with items he/she couldn't get rid of quickly. That might indicate someone living in the compound.

    I'd be looking to see if the killer knew the couple were going to come home at exactly that time and ambushed them. That would indicate either familiarity or long-term planning. Of course they're checking to see if anyone noticed any vehicles in that area on the side of the road, or in a parking lot bordering the route the couple often took, something like that, which could indicate a stakeout. Or it could be someone from work or familiar with the lawyer's time schedule, if that's the case. Or as we wonder, a hunter would be familiar with tracking and ambush easily enough.

    I wonder if the killer went into the house at all?

    It will be interesting to see if they solve this one.
  15. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    kk--so many questions:

    I have all the same questions as you. The State Police are keeping a very tight lid on information. I'm surprised that some is leaking out anyway.

    The Keeffes were ambushed--taken completely by surprise.

    Whoever did it planned well, knew their routine, knew the layout of their property.

    I'm thinking this was not random.

    What it reminds me of is the murders of the Menendezes by their two sons.
  16. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    Lying in Wait: Definition

    MURDER BY LYING IN WAIT - To constitute murder by lying in wait there must be an intentional infliction upon the person killed of bodily harm involving a high degree of probability that it will result in death and which shows a wanton disregard for human life. The concept of lying in wait does not relieve the prosecution from the burden of proving that the defendant harbored malice aforethought . . .

    Lying in wait is a waiting and watching for an opportune time to act, together with a concealment by ambush or some other secret design to take the other person by surprise. The lying in wait need not continue for any particular period of time provided that its duration is such as to show a state of mind equivalent to premeditation or deliberation.

    According to California criminal law, the phrase "lying in wait" describes both a special circumstance and a theory of first degree murder. The factual situation necessary to sustain a jury's finding of lying in wait as a special circumstance is: " `an intentional murder, committed under circumstances which include (1) a concealment of purpose, (2) a substantial period of watching and waiting for an opportune time to act, and (3) immediately thereafter, a surprise attack on an unsuspecting victim from a position of advantage[.]' " People v. Sims, 853 P.2d 992, 1007 (Cal. 1993), cert. denied, 114 S. Ct. 2782 (1994) (quoting People v. Morales, 770 P.2d 244 (Cal.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 984 (1989)).

    In contrast, the theory of first degree murder by means of lying in wait does not require the intent to murder the victim, but rather, "the intent to watch and wait for the purpose of gaining advantage and taking the victim unawares in order to facilitate the act which constitutes murder." People v. Laws, 15 Cal. Rptr. 2d 668, 674, 12 Cal. App. 4th 786, 795 (Cal. Ct. App. 1993). Moreover, the lying in wait need not continue for any particular period of time, provided that its duration is such as to show a state of mind equivalent to premeditation or deliberation. People v. Ruiz, 749 P.2d 854, 867 (Cal.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 871 (1988)
  17. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator

    A relative did it?

    From crimelibrary:

    Search Warrants Served in Murders of David and Carol Keeffe

    By David Lohr

    January 1, 2007

    ATHENS, Pa. (Crime Library) — State and local police investigators still won't comment on the investigation into the execution-style murder of David and Carol Keeffe. They also refuse to confirm or deny reports that a relative was involved in the crimes. The only thing that they will say is that they are confident the case will be solved. According to one source, they are being careful to "dot their i's and cross their t's."

    On November 17, David, 56, and Carol, 60, were both shot at point-blank range in their garage. According to a source close to the investigation, Carol was shot first from behind, and then David was shot facing his killer. Authorities have not yet released the autopsy report, but according to the death certificates, both David and Carol died as a result of "multiple gunshot wounds to the head."

    In an article with The Daily & Sunday Review, W. Scott Thornsley, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice at Mansfield University, briefly commented on the murders and was quoted as saying: "the more overkill the murder is, the more personal the crime has become for the killer"

    Authorities in New York recently served two search warrants related to this case. According to a source close to the investigation, those warrants were served on a motor vehicle and a house. Items retrieved during the searches have been sent off for lab analysis.

    The chief suspect is alleged to be someone close to the family. While the victims did leave behind a vast estate, it is entirely possible the person behind these murders may not directly benefit from the wills. The motive could be unrelated to money or property.
  18. Voyager

    Voyager Active Member

    Looks Like....

    Family to me...With the multiple gunshots to the face and head being "over-kill" and very personal.

    The fact that the killer caught the Dr. in the garage just as he was coming home and right before the couple was due to be gone for the weekend, to me indicates knowledge of their plans where the killer has taken the "oportunity" to execute the crime and have time to get away, recover him/herself and create an alibi...

    Also the fact that nothing was taken from the home indicates lack of motive for the robber/stranger scenario....

    Of course, as Lurker has theorized, it could have been the Dr. and his wife quarelling about one of them having an affair, but from their description -family and community members, this does not seem likely....

    I am betting that the police will soon announce a suspect from within their family and are just waiting to make a pretty solid case before announcing it since they are so prominent in that community....

    The motive would naturally be inheritance, since both were murdered at the same time....

    I am narrowing it down to one of the in-laws as the most likely suspect, unless of course it is one of the couple's children killing out of a jealous rage over perceived misdirected money or affection....

    Sad, sad case for this good community-minded couple,
  19. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator


    Thanks for your input. Seems like we are all on the same page with this case.

    An arrest should be announced as soon as the forensics are back on the car and the house that the search warrants were issued for.
  20. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Wonder who in the family owns an RV?
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