HARRISBURG, Pa. – A man suspected of shooting five people in a West Virginia home was in custody Wednesday after his car tire went flat on a Pennsylvania interstate and a state trooper stopped to help.
Keith R. Jeffers, 30, told reporters before his arraignment Wednesday that he didn't shoot anyone and wasn't even at the home in Amandaville, W.Va.
Three of the shooting victims died in the attack before dawn Tuesday, and two others were hospitalized, one in critical condition.
Jeffers was arrested late that night on Interstate 81 after the trooper who had stopped to help him with the flat tire checked the vehicle's registration and discovered Jeffers was wanted on murder charges, Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. P.L. Tolbert said. Jeffers was held on $3 million bail on a fugitive-from-justice charge.
The home where the five were shot is on a dead-end street in Amandaville, a tiny community 15 miles west of Charleston, W.Va. All five shooting victims and a sixth person who escaped by jumping through a window were adults in their 30s and 40s.
Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford has not given a motive for the shootings but has said investigators had not ruled out drugs.
Jeffers had previously been charged in 2003 with holding a woman hostage and torturing a man inside a Charleston home. Jeffers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and to injuring someone without a firearm and was sentenced in 2004 to one year home confinement and four years probation.
According to court records in that case, Jeffers and two other men were charged with putting the man in a bathtub and unsuccessfully trying to shock him, failing only because a power cord wasn't long enough to reach into the water.
When Jeffers was arrested Tuesday, a 19-year-old woman, a 17-year-old and her 2-year-old child were in the vehicle, Kanawha County, W.Va., Sheriff's Lt. B.C. Stover said. He said the women were not expected to face charges.