A Texas man was arrested on murder charges nearly 45 years to the day after the bullet-riddled body of his alleged victim, a Bethlehem Steel employee, was found in a northeastern Pennsylvania field.
Richard Keiper told authorities he had fled Pennsylvania after shooting 40-year-old Alfred Barnes "in order to start a new life by joining a traveling carnival," police said. He is now married with one child and two stepchildren and had been living quietly in Texas for many years, said Cpl. Thomas McAndrew, a state police investigator.
Keiper, 67, of Boyd, Texas, was arrested Thursday and will be returned to Pennsylvania to face murder charges in the death of Barnes, an assistant to the vice president at Bethlehem Steel. Police say Keiper confessed when he was interviewed by a Texas Ranger last month.
Hunters found Barnes' body in a field Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County, on Oct. 19, 1968. He had been shot multiple times at close range. His new 1969 Ford Thunderbird was later recovered in Warren County, N.J., where authorities found Barnes' blood and a .32-caliber bullet on the drivers' side floor.
Keiper first came under suspicion as troopers worked the case decades ago, McAndrew said.
"For some reason, the case went cold, and Keiper was never tracked down and interrogated. Recently, one of our troopers saw that as a loose end," McAndrew said.
Keiper was arrested without incident at his job at a wastewater treatment plant. He is jailed in Wise County and does not yet have an attorney. A message left Friday at a phone listing for Keiper was not returned.