Fairbanks Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Stalking and Murder for Hire Plot
FAIRBANKS – A Fairbanks man was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline for stalking and attempting to arrange a murder for hire.
According to court documents and evidence presented at his sentencing, Roger Keeling, 55, devised and solicited a murder for hire plot targeting his former girlfriend while he was in custody on stalking charges. He was indicted in January 2021 and found guilty by a federal jury in August 2021.
At sentencing, the United States underscored the physical, emotional and mental abuse suffered by Keeling’s former girlfriend. In both her testimony and her victim impact statement, she described the terrifying and traumatic ordeal. As she became increasingly frightened by Keeling’s actions and mental state, she left him. He tried winning her back but when that didn’t work, his anger began to consume him as he stalked her and found someone to murder her.
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.
“While no sentence can atone for the sense of security his victim lost, she no longer has to live in fear always looking over her back and worried about her personal safety,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson, District of Alaska. “Every citizen has the right to feel safe as they go about their daily life and we will continue to seek justice for victims of such appalling acts.”
"This investigation and disruption of Mr. Keeling's deadly plot should serve as a reminder that the FBI and our partners will vigorously hold those accountable who plan such actions," said Antony Jung, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Anchorage Field Office. "Soliciting a murder for hire is a federal crime, and the defendant will now spend the next 12 years in federal prison."
The Alaska State Troopers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fairbanks Police Department conducted the investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Doty and Ryan Tansey prosecuted 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.
Domestic violence is a crime. If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, it is normal to feel scared, helpless and vulnerable. You are not alone. Help is available through local and state police departments as well as through national entities such as the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).