Crime & Courts

Fairbanks man charged in murder-for-hire plot against woman he stalked

A Fairbanks man stalked his ex-girlfriend for months before soliciting her murder, according to a new federal criminal charge.

Roger Keeling, 54, was first charged in state court last fall with stalking a Fairbanks woman he had once dated, sending her a series of rambling emails, slashing her tires and later leaving disturbing notes about magic and curses along her usual running route.

In January, Keeling was charged with stalking in federal criminal court, which can carry heavier penalties.

Then federal authorities announced a new element of the case: Keeling, they say, had been trying to pay a man he met in jail $1,500 help him find someone to kill his ex-girlfriend, according to a bail memorandum filed Friday. Prosecutors say he transferred money to the inmate’s mother. When police eventually searched his home, they found a detailed map of the layout of the woman’s house.

He has now been charged with murder-for-hire, according to a superseding indictment handed up by a federal grand jury Tuesday.

By that time, Keeling had been repeatedly charged, jailed and released for stalking the woman.

Keeling was first on the radar of Alaska authorities starting in late October, when his former girlfriend sought a restraining order against him after he choked her and threatened to burn down her house, according to an affidavit in the federal stalking case against him.

He was charged with a misdemeanor assault and went to jail for a few days but continued to contact her, passing messages through a third party. After he was released, the woman began to receive strange emails from burner accounts, purportedly from a man named “Christian” but written in her ex’s characteristic writing style, the affidavit said.

“I can definitely see that in him though he does yell and break things he’s working on it,” one of the emails said.

In the following weeks, Keeling went back to jail several times for breaking the terms of his release in three separate cases, according to an affidavit. Each time he was released, he started emailing the woman again, asking her to take him back and threatening to disrupt her professional life.

In November, the woman found her car tires slashed. Keeling was arrested again but released a few days later.

Around Thanksgiving, he sent an email recounting details of a weekend getaway she had taken — suggesting he’d followed or otherwise tracked her.

He wrote: “yes I did see you smiling and enjoying the amenities and the snow.”

In late December, the woman found a backpack “with handwritten notes on her normal running route,” according to the affidavit. “The notes included the subject of black magic and how (the woman) had been cursed.”

Keeling was on Department of Corrections electronic monitoring after having been released, according to the affidavit. His ankle monitor showed he’d been on the trail where the woman usually ran. He was arrested and taken back to jail.

The woman was so scared that she traveled to a community hundreds of miles away from Fairbanks for a month, according to the affidavit. She also had her vehicle checked for GPS tracking and bought a new cellphone.

The Daily News is not naming the woman because she is the victim of a domestic violence crime.

Keeling is being held at the Fairbanks Correctional Center.