Man on run from murder charges for 45 years arrested in Wise County

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 7:19 PM

BOYD –– A man arrested for a murder 45 years ago may be linked to other unsolved cases, the Wise County Sheriff's Department says.

Richard Keiper, 67, was arrested this week in Wise County. Deputies were assisting the Pennsylvania State Police in a cold case from 1968.

State troopers linked Keiper to the crime and, with help from Wise County and the Texas Rangers, were able to get a confession out of Keiper before taking him into custody on Thursday.

“Forty-five years is a long time,” said Wise County Sheriff David Walker.

In an affidavit, Keiper said he left Pennsylvania after the murder to join a traveling carnival.

Walker said now authorities in Denton County and a variety of other states, including Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, are trying to see if Keiper has any connection to unsolved cases there.

“Denton County was here earlier,” he said. “All of those departments will have a lot of work.”

He cautioned that nothing has been confirmed and that Keiper is only charged in connection to the 1968 slaying for now.

He is now married with one child and two stepchildren and had been living quietly in Texas for many years, said Cpl. Thomas McAndrew, a state police investigator in Pennsylvania.

Authorities said there was no indication any of them had any knowledge of the alleged crime.

Family asked for privacy on Friday. 

One of his family members is on the city council. 

The affidavit details how Keiper admitted to shooting Alfred Louis Barnes in Bethlehem, Penn. in October of 1968 before driving his Ford Thunderbird to New Jersey.

Documents detail that Keiper was an original name mentioned in the investigation but “Keiper was not located at that time and the case went cold.”

"For some reason, the case went cold, and Keiper was never tracked down and interrogated. Recently, one of our troopers saw that as a loose end," McAndrew told the Associated Press.

Keiper was arrested without incident at his job at a wastewater treatment plant. He is jailed in Wise County and does not yet have an attorney. A message left Friday at a phone listing for Keiper was not returned.

It's not clear how Keiper and Barnes were acquainted, or what led to the long-ago shooting.

"The victim was described as being someone who was typically well dressed and who expressed pride in his new vehicle," police wrote in an arrest affidavit.

Keiper grew up in the Poconos and in the Allentown area. He also has ties to Virginia and Florida. Pennsylvania State Police said they are trying to learn more about Keiper and are seeking to talk to anyone who has information about him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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