Cold Case Spans Ages and Law
A 45-year-old cold case finally makes it to court and what is certainly noticeable is the variety of ages of people involved in the case.
The trooper who opened up this cold case in Monroe County wasn’t even born when the alleged crime occurred but the coroner who testified Friday is in his 90s.
45 years ago police say Richard Keiper shot and killed a man near Effort.
At that time, Richard was just 22 years old.
State police won’t talk about a motive, but what a 28 year-old trooper now assigned to this case is saying is Richard Keiper shot and killed Alfred Barnes. Barnes was a Bethlehem Steel Executive in 1968.
The hunter who found Barnes’ body is now 71 years old.
“You know, 45 years is a long time. It’s hard to believe that they did find what they did find after 45 years,” said Lee Hoffner, the hunter, from Saylorsburg.
Lee Hoffner testified he was hunting when he found the body of Alfred Barnes in a field near Effort on October 19, 1968.
He told the court that he first thought it was a scarecrow, then a mannequin, then when he approached, he saw it was a person.
Immediately after, Hoffner drove to his uncle’s home on Evergreen Hallow Road, which back in 1968, was a dirt road, to call police.
The two state troopers who arrived on scene are now deceased.
The Monroe County Deputy Coroner at the time is now 96. When he was shown black and white photographs in court, it charged his memory.
“It was as clear to me as it was yesterday seeing him there. Because I knew exactly the way he was lying there and everything,” said William Kresge, the former Deputy Coroner for Monroe County.
District Attorney David Christine says the laws at the time of crime apply to this case, not the laws of today.
Christine, who was eleven years old in 1968, showed reporters a book his office borrowed from the library to understand the proper murder statute to use in Keiper’s case.
“Back then there were only two degrees of murder, murder of the first degree and murder of the second degree. Now we have three. Plus voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter. So it is very different,” said District Attorney Christine.
The District Judge decided there is enough evidence to send this 45 year-old cold case to trial.
So far no date’s been scheduled.