Arrest made in 2006 Bradford County murder case
(The Following Is A Media Release From Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett's Office)
HARRISBURG – A New York man was arrested yesterday and charged with the brutal 2006 murder of his first cousin and her husband.
Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as John J. DeSisti, 73, 87 Shepard Road, Waverly, New York.
Evidence and testimony regarding the murder was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.
According to the grand jury, on Nov. 17, 2006 Carol Keeffe and her husband, David Keeffe, were shot and killed inside of their garage in Athens Township, Bradford County.
The grand jury found that both victims were initially shot in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun blast in an ambush-style execution. After Carol Keeffe suffered the fatal shotgun wound, she was shot two more times, in the head, from close range, with a .22 caliber gun.
Her husband, David, was also shot in the head with a .22 caliber gun following the initial shotgun blast.
Corbett said that DeSisti and Carol Keeffe had been involved in a years-long dispute over adjoining properties they owned in New York State. Both of the properties had been part of an 84 acre parcel owned by Carol Keeffe’s father, which he divided between the two, giving DeSisti seven acres and his daughter, the remaining 77 acres.
According to the grand jury, DeSisti and Keeffe argued for years about the boundaries of the land, specifically about Carol Keeffe’s complaints that DeSisti continued to encroach and build outbuildings on her portion of the property.
The land dispute between DeSisti and Keeffe allegedly escalated in the weeks leading up to the murders, due to Carol Keeffe arranging for logging and surveying of her portion of the land.
Corbett said that a land survey was initiated on Nov. 9, 2006, and a preliminary boundary flagging was done. The surveyor returned to the site on Nov. 13, 2006 and found that his flags had allegedly been removed.
According to the grand jury, two days before she was murdered, Carol Keeffe, said that her father and DeSisti had an argument, and that there was going to be “big trouble, and that DeSisti “will do whatever it takes” to get what he wants.
On Dec. 11, 2006 the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and New York State Police executed a search warrant on DeSisti’s residence and outbuildings and recovered;
12 gauge shotgun ammunition, .22 caliber ammunition and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun in a master bedroom closet;
a loaded .22 caliber Smith & Wessen revolver, along with a loose .22 caliber round inside a leather pouch in the master bedroom;
five 12 gauge shotguns, eight .22 caliber rifles, and a large volume of ammunition inside a basement gun closet;
an owner’s manual for a Browning Medalist .22 caliber automatic pistol;
six pairs of Cabela’s Outfitter Series boots, size 10.5 EE;
.38 caliber and .22 caliber rounds in a bedroom closet;
a 12 gauge shotgun, two .22 caliber rifles, boxes of .22 caliber rounds and shotgun rounds in a workshop on the property;
10 Winchester 12 gauge Super X 2 ¾ -1 ¼, size 4 shot shotgun grounds, along with latex gloves in a hunting vest pocket.
During the investigation, a PSP footwear impression expert conducted an examination of the bloody boot prints found at the murder scene. The examination revealed that out of a database of hundreds of types of footwear, none corresponded to the scene prints.
Corbett said that that database did not include a specific type of boot, which was found at DeSisti’s residence following the murders; Cabela’s Outfitter Series boots, size 10.5 EE.
The grand jury found that DeSisti’s boots and a comparison to the photographs of the bloody boot prints at the crime scene corresponded in all aspects, specifically in physical size, tread design, outsole size and general state of wear.
According to the grand jury, the shot shells recovered at the murder scene were identical, in all respects, including manufacturer, model, size, and weight and type of shot as the Winchester 12 gauge. Shot shells of the exact same type used in the killings were also found in DeSisti’s hunting vest.
Troopers said that the .22 caliber round removed from the victims’ heads were also consistent with the .22 caliber ammunition recovered from DeSisti’s residence, garage and workshop.
DeSisti is charged with two counts of murder and one count of burglary. The murder charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison or death for the murders of Carol and David Keeffe.
Corbett thanked the Pennsylvania State Police and the New York State Police for their efforts in the investigation.
The case will be prosecuted in Bradford County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Blessington of the Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecutions Section.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
Click here for a copy of the Keeffe grand jury presentment.