FAIRBANKS – A federal jury today convicted a Fairbanks man for stalking and attempting to arrange a murder for hire.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Roger Keeling, 55, devised and solicited a murder for hire plot targeting his former girlfriend while he was in custody on stalking charges.
In October 2020 Keeling placed his hands around his girlfriend’s neck, told her he should rip her heart out and threatened to burn her house down. Keeling pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in state court. The victim applied for and was granted a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) and it was served on Keeling before his release on the assault charges. Over the next six weeks, Keeling was arrested – and released by the state court – for violating this DVPO multiple times in an escalating pattern that included following the victim, slashing her tires, sending dozens of threatening emails from various “disguised” email accounts and planting disturbing handwritten notes along her usual running route.
Keeling was arrested for stalking the victim in December 2020. While in custody, Keeling told his cellmate he wanted to find someone to harm his girlfriend. During the next few days, Keeling agreed to pay his cellmate $1,500 to arrange for a hitman to kill her, and after being released by a state court judge, he made an initial payment of $500. During a search of Keeling’s home, Alaska State Troopers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation found numerous notes and documents confirming the existence of the plot, as well as multiple documents and drawings created by Mr. Keeling that showed his desire to see her harmed, including a hand-drawn picture of her home in flames.
“Every citizen has the right to feel safe as they go about their daily life. With today’s conviction, the victim will no longer live in fear always looking over her back and worried about her personal safety,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson, District of Alaska.
“The Alaska State Troopers are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to keep the citizens of our great state safe,” said Colonel Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers. “Investigations like these should serve as a warning to anyone considering soliciting a murder; the Alaska State Troopers and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate and hold accountable anyone that perpetrates these unconscionable acts.”
Keeling faces up to a five year sentence on the stalking conviction and up to a 10 year sentence on the murder for hire conviction. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Alaska State Troopers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fairbanks Police Department conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Doty and Ryan Tansey are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
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