Saturday, November 10, 2007

Palm Beach Millionaire Dies While In Custody

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A Palm Beach millionaire sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex-wife and shooting her brother passed away Wednesday from leukemia.

Fred Keller, who turned 73 on Aug. 15, was transferred Tuesday night from the South Florida Reception Center prison in Miami to Larkin Community Hospital, where he passed away, civil attorney Bennett Cohn said.

Keller was convicted on Jan. 31 for the Nov. 10, 2003, shooting death of his ex-wife, 34-year-old Rosemarie Keller, and the shooting of her brother, Wolfgang Keil. A jury took five hours to convict Keller.

During the trial, Keller admitted he and his wife were going through a nasty divorce settlement in 2003, but said it was not anything to kill her over, WPBF-TV reported. A previous trial ended in a hung jury.

The jury convicted Keller of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and shooting into a building.

Circuit Judge Edward Garrison sentenced Keller to life in prison on April 12. Keller was also ordered to pay more than $252,000 court costs.

Cohn said the conviction will now likely be set aside because Keller died while the appeal was pending. His death also creates new legal complications in a pending lawsuit seeking criminal restitution for the shootings.

Keller's commercial real estate fortune is worth an estimated $100 million.

According to Cohen, Keller's sole heir was his son, Fred Keller, Jr., 12. Cohn said Keller sent a letter every week to his son and never received a response.

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