Trial starts in 1968 West End murder case



By Andrew Scott
Pocono Record Writer

The trial began Monday morning for Richard Keiper of Boyd, Texas who was arrested in 2013 on charges of fatally shooting Alfred Barnes, 40, of Bethlehem in Chestnuthill Township in October 1968.

A hunter found Barnes' body in a field off what's now Evergreen Hollow Road. Barnes' 1969 Thunderbird was later found, with blood staining the interior, in Blairstown, N.J.

Evidence suggests Barnes was shot three times in his car and then twice more while in a kneeling position where his body was later found. Bullet wounds were found in his face, forehead and one hand.

A witness in 1971 told police a man, believed to be Keiper, had met him in Allentown shortly after the murder and told him he had shot another man and taken the victim's Thunderbird. The witness told police the man had tried to sell him a handgun similar to what police believe had been used in the murder.

Unable to locate Keiper, police closed the case in 1982, but reopened it in 2010 after new advances in forensic technology and receiving Barnes' nephew's letter requesting they not forget about Barnes.

With help from Texas Rangers, police located Keiper, who allegedly gave statements implicating himself in the shooting. The jury heard testimony from the hunter who found the body and saw a transcript of the testimony of the coroner at the time, as well as photos of the body.

As of the lunchtime recess, there had not been any testimony as to a motive, though robbery is suspected. The trial is expected to last at least several days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *