Crime & Courts

Fairbanks man sentenced to 12 years in murder-for-hire plot

A Fairbanks man has been sentenced to spend 12 years in federal prison for stalking a former girlfriend and trying to hire someone to kill her.

Roger Keeling stalked his former girlfriend for months in 2020, landing him in and out of jail for violating a restraining order, according to an affidavit written by FBI Special Agent Derik Stone.

During one stint in jail, Keeling, who is now 55, arranged to have another inmate find someone to kill the woman, the charges said. He’d offered the man a $1,500 finder’s fee, and after Keeling was released he wired a portion of the money to the man’s mother, a bail memorandum said.

Prior to the murder-for-hire plot, Roger Keeling strangled his former girlfriend and threatened to burn her house down, the affidavit said. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and the woman filed a restraining order against him, court records show.

Keeling continued to contact the woman through a third party and she began to receive strange emails when Keeling was released from jail, Stone wrote. The emails claimed to have been written by another man, although officials said it was clear they were from Keeling because of his distinct writing style, among other things.

In one of the emails, the sender described watching the woman at a resort near Denali National Park, where she told authorities she had just returned from, the affidavit said.

Keeling slashed the woman’s tires in November, the affidavit said. And on Christmas, he left a backpack along the woman’s normal running route that was filled with handwritten notes that “included the subject of black magic and how (the woman) had been cursed,” Stone wrote.

Keeling was charged in January with stalking and a superseding indictment was filed the next month that added information about the plans he made while incarcerated to find someone to kill the woman.

A jury found Keeling guilty in August and he was sentenced on Friday to spend 12 years in federal prison, court records show.