Indictment! Peter Keegan Will Be Tried for Murder

Peter Keegan: Booked for murder. (Photo: Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office)

Peter Keegan has been indicted for the murder of his wife of 32 years, Susan Keegan. After a criminal grand jury handed up the decision earlier this week, Dr. Keegan was arraigned in the Mendocino County Courthouse on Friday, August 11, released on $300,000 bail, and taken to the Sheriff’s office to be fingerprinted and photographed. Preparations for a trial move forward immediately.

The indictment comes exactly six years and nine months after Susan’s death. It has been the duty of this blog since its founding to call attention to the terrible miscarriage of justice that occurred when Dr. Keegan sweet-talked and bullied his way to freedom. We have since sought only this: that the community in which Susan lived, raised a family, worked, and grew into an artist understand the truth of what happened to her, and that the accused receive a day in court.

At long last, we have seen those goals realized. We are deeply grateful to those who recognized the story for what it was – murder – and persevered in pursuing truth.

Thanks are due. First and foremost, to Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster. The DA has long been the target of strong – he would probably say unrelenting – pressure from this blog. It had to be so. Eyster alone had the authority to pursue this case and without public awareness, it might have been easiest for him to let it go. But after inheriting a preliminary investigation that had been botched, he insisted that his office hit the ground again to gather the most rigorous possible evidence, and he never closed the books on the possibility of prosecution. Without Eyster, Peter Keegan would assuredly have been able to continue his game of pretend.

Thanks also to the DA’s investigators who worked tirelessly, took risks, and pushed past obfuscation and skepticism to gather the facts. Kevin Bailey and Andy Alvarado are committed and caring heroes. In the depth of their commitment and painstaking determination, they represent everything that law enforcement should be.

Timothy Stoen, neither young nor completely healthy, had the smarts, style, empathy, and workhorse qualities necessary to convince the grand jury that Dr. Keegan should be indicted. His work went on behind closed doors, but we know that Stoen’s task was to present a balanced overview of the case, and in the end he got his man.

Bruce Anderson, the ever-feisty editor of the ever-feisty Anderson Valley Advertiser, gets a special shout-out. A believer in the power of journalism to do good, he has been first with breaking news about the Keegan case again and again, continually reminding the powers-that-be of their obligation to bring the available evidence to light. Long live a free press that has no tolerance for fake news.

Many others, known and unknown, played vital roles in indicting Dr. Peter Keegan, so a broad tip of the hat to them all. There was grace and courage and strategic thinking in what so many people did for Susan Keegan and the people of Mendocino County. As we have repeatedly said on this blog, a civilized society prosecutes homicide. What a relief to know that we still inhabit one.