Torn Loyalties

Robert Keasler, 69, and his wife were estranged. And at some point, his wife had taken a restraining order against her husband. Police say Keasler was upset over the separation and the restraining order.

Saturday morning, Robert Keasler’s son received a call from his father. And Keasler told his son of his plans to kill his wife and himself.

The son called his mother and told her not to go home. Then he made the call to 911.

Police responding to the estranged wife’s home found Keasler hiding in a closet of the home. Police say he was disguised by camouflage and a ski mask.

Police have said that when Keasler was found, he had a gun, had strips of duct tape on his jacket, with a roll of duct tape on his arm. In the closet, they also found a full gas can, matches, a bottle of Viagra, and extra bullets. In a crawl space of the home they found a circular saw. A box cutter, handcuffs and two notes were also found.

Police say entry into the home was through a bathroom window, and that it appeared that after entry an attempt was made to sweep up the broken glass, the window blind was then closed to hide the broken window.

Police say they have evidence to believe that Keasler’s plan was to break into the home, bind his estranged wife, sexually assault her, dismember her body, and set the home on fire.

Keasler has been charged with attempted murder, attempted kidnapping, attempted criminal sexual conduct, attempted burglary and attempted arson. In court bond was denied and an mental evaluation was ordered.  

Suprisingly many who do plan a murder may talk about it before hand. They may speak cryptically, they may make outright threats, or they may disguise it in a joking manner. Or they may make contact to say goodbye. All threats should be taken seriously. Whether they are about yourself or someone else. All threats should be reported. Even if you don’t think they are serious, even if you don’t think they will actually go through with it, and even if you think you have talked them out of it.

I cannot begin to guess how frightening this was to the wife. She evidently had some fear already, as she had taken out the protective order. But to hear of the threat that was made to her son, to hear that he was caught in her home and with evidence of his intentions. The only thing that would have made it any scarier or more real, is if she had actually walked into that home.

A son has loyalty to both parents.  Thankfully, the father did call him. But that left him with only two choices. Should he make the call that would most likely land his father in legal trouble? Should he assume that his father would change his mind and back away from what he threatened? Should he ignore what was said and possibly be left with both parents dead or with his mother dead and his father in prison. Or should he take his father seriously and make the call to authorities. Knowing that call would probably cause criminal action against his father.

He made the right call. His mother survived. His father, while facing criminal action will also receive a mental evaluation. But most of all, they both survived.

A big thank you to Trisha for the tip on this one.



  1. Desiree said,

    January 17, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    What about someone who talks about HOW to kill someone, a person who goes into detail about murders in the media and talks about how it should have been done differently? Or how they would have done it differently? I know we all have discussed something along this line at some point when we were watching television or discussing a case like O.J. but what about someone who really goes into detail about it many, many times with many different people?

    I ask because someone who did just this quite a bit in conversations did follow through and murder his wife. Is this something that should have hit a nerve with us? And, more importantly, is it something the police or the prosecuters in the case should know about?

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions.


  2. January 17, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Definitely police and prosecutors should be made aware.
    And other than that, I have to speak with caution- some aspects of that remind me of me since I write about it every day, LOL. I promise I am not planning anything.
    It would certainly be something you would want to mention to the spouse, that the person seemed to have an inordinate interest in how to commit murder, and could it be possible that they were planning something?

  3. Vidalia11 said,

    January 17, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Desiree – imo if this guy goes to trial, you could be a witness for the prosecution because of the premeditation factor.

    Regarding this crime, the man may have been crazy for years and that’s why his wife was finally leaving the marriage. He seems seriously disturbed. Thank goodness some sane part of him called his son and prevented a tragedy.

  4. D.P. said,

    January 18, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Great question. Short answer for you…go to the prosecutor with what you know.
    Long answer…Sweet home hit in on target…some people, myself included, like to talk about crime. I wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless of course some SOB was trying to hurt my kids, me or my husband. The key to this tricky question is context. Is the person talking this way in a situation where violence may take place? [EG: getting a divorce, separation, custody battle]
    Secondly, has this person always talked in this threatening manner? Has the manner been stepped up alarmingly? Red flags all…but as a friend to a person…one may not want to truely believe what they are actually capable of.
    A book that was mandatory reading as training for my job at a DV shelter was “The gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker. Read it. You will never doubt your gut feelings again.

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