Murder Arrest Brings Closure To Community

By WBNG News

December 9, 2010 Updated Dec 9, 2010 at 10:40 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) - New details shed light on the murders of a Bradford County couple, and the arrest of a suspect.

Pennsylvania State Police arrested John DeSisti, 73, in connection with the murder that happened at the couple's home in Athens in 2006.

A grand jury found David and Carol Keeffe were shot in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun in an ambush-style execution.

Carol was then 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 the .22 caliber.

State Police also found boots at DeSisti's home in Waverly that matched bloody boot prints at the crime scene.

Also, ammo shells from the same type of gun used in the killings were found in DeSisti's hunting vest at his home.

Troopers said that the .22 caliber round removed from the bodies were also consistent with the .22 caliber ammunition recovered from DeSisti's garage.

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.

The arrest is bringing some closure to those in the community.

Action News reporter Natalie Jenereski visited Bradford County today to find out how friends and neighbors of the couple are taking the news.

Four years ago, the Athens community was devastated and frightened by the news of their neighbors' murder.

Rumors swirled that a mob was responsible.

Now, those rumors have been silenced as the neighborhood finds closure in the arrest of John DeSisti, 73.

"It's shock and relief. It's relief for the family, but it's shock that it was so close to home and over something as little as material things like land. Family shouldn't be fighting over things like that," said Dorothy Atchison, owner of Pandora's Box in Athens.

An investigation into Carol Keeffe's relationship with her cousin found the two had been involved in a years-long dispute over 84 acres of land in Waverly.

Carol's father gave her 77 acres, and left 7 acres for his nephew.

Intense arguments between the two took place in the weeks leading up to the murders.

That's when Carol had the property surveyed and logged.

"I've expressed my disappointment that it would be a family member who would do such a thing over a piece of property. It's just kind of hard to believe," said Jonathan Foster, Past President of the Bradford County Bar Association.

Jonathan Foster was the President of the Bradford County Bar Association in the years following the murders of his long-time friends.

Foster spearheaded a reward fund worth $120,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

State Police haven't said whether anyone is eligible for the reward.

If one is not offered, Foster says there are other plans for the money.

"We are going to try to keep his memory alive through a scholarship fund. In addition, we set up an award we would give in memory of him and his wife's memory to a member of our bar association and a member of the general public," said Foster.

An award that can open new doors and healing once the murder case is closed.

Natalie Jenereski, WBNG-TV Action News.

DeSisti's preliminary hearing has been delayed.

The Magistrate announced today he will disqualify himself because he's too close with the parties involved.

The hearing is not expected until the week of December 20th.

The case will be prosecuted in Bradford County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Blessington.