Ukiah Doctor Arrested for Killing His Wife in 2010

Used with permission from the Anderson Valley Advertiser:

Peter and Susan Keegan

A Mendocino County criminal grand jury has indicted Dr. Peter Keegan for the murder of his wife, Susan Keegan.

The startling news was revealed Thursday afternoon with the posting of Friday’s court calendar showing that Keegan [was going to be] arraigned at 9am Friday morning in Department B before Judge Ann Moorman.

Mrs. Keegan was found dead in the couple’s South Ukiah home on November 10, 2010. Peter Keegan, a long-time Ukiah general practitioner whose patients were a virtual Who’s Who of liberal Ukiah, said his wife of thirty years, and the mother of the couple’s two sons, had fallen in the bathroom adjoining her bedroom and struck her head with sufficient force to kill herself. Keegan told police his wife had been under the combined influence of alcohol and prescription drugs.

Family and friends of Mrs. Keegan were immediately suspicious.

DA David Eyster, elected soon after Mrs. Keegan’s improbable death, immediately began a thorough re-investigation of the case. The results of that investigation were presented to a specially convened grand jury just this week by prosecutor Tim Stoen; the grand jury agreed that Dr. Keegan should be indicted for murder.

This case will reverberate throughout Mendocino County and beyond with its startlingly unique cast of characters, beginning with the Harvard-educated Keegan prosecuted by the former consiglieri for the People’s Temple, Tim Stoen. Defending Keegan is Sonoma County’s go-to criminal defense attorney, the formidable Chris Andrian.

Peter Keegan is said to be terminally ill with cancer while prosecutor Stoen, 80, has recently undergone brain surgery.

Keegan, something of a social and professional pariah since the death of his wife, has functioned as a part-time doctor with the Indian Health Clinic in Covelo.

Prominent Ukiah attorney, Norm Rosen, who’d functioned as the Keegans’ marriage counselor, asked for his files on his work with the Keegans, claimed attorney-client confidentiality exempted him from testifying to Peter Keegan’s explosive temper. A search warrant of Rosen’s office revealed that Rosen was not the couple’s attorney but merely a counselor.

The DA’s office refused comment Thursday afternoon on the Keegan matter….

Dr. Peter Keegan

Arrest photo of Dr. Keegan from the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office

The arraignment for Dr. Peter Richard Keegan went very swiftly…at 9:00 am, all parties having arrived early, except the defendant, who came in last wearing a grey suit and leaning on a walking stick, in the company of three younger men and a small boy, possibly family members.

Judge Ann Moorman came out and called Dr. Keegan’s case first… Judge Moorman noted that the Grand Jury had returned an indictment for one count of murder and prosecutor Timothy Stoen submitted a copy of the indictment, charging the defendant with murder, 187 of the Penal Code — the judge had copies made telling Stoen he should have made three endorsed copies and while he apologized Moorman noted that Judge Behnke had set bail on Wednesday at $300,000

…[The] charge was second degree murder… Moorman told him to take it to the office and get a receipt for it against the day it would be returned. She then gave Mr. Andrian a copy of the indictment, which he formally acknowledged, and asked that the matter be put over for 60 days for entry of plea.

The date of Friday, October 20th at 9:00 AM was decided on. Mr. Stoen gave Mr. Andrian a flash-drive containing the discovery and JudgeMoorman noted that the witness list had been sealed. Andrian asked that it be unsealed for the attorneys, only and this was agreed to.

Dr. Keegan was ordered to return on October 20th.

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23 comments

  • A shout out to Bruce Anderson and the Anderson Valley Advertiser whose excellent journalism kept this story in the public eye.

  • The whole thing is weird. The prosecutor, Stoen, lost his wife and child at Jonestown.

    • Tim Stoen did not lose his wife in Jonestown. Grace Stoen was long gone from the People’s Temple before the move to Guyana. She left her son to be raised communally by the Temple, partly at the urging of Tim, & both of them were comfortable to abandon him to Jonestown even when Tim feared for his own life & hightailed it out of there all by himself. John Victor may have been Stoen’s son or he may have been Jones’ son… depends on which of Stoen’s stories you believe… & Grace probably doesn’t really know which of the two fathered her son.
      You’re right, though. The whole thing is weird & not just because of Stoen’s involvement. What a cast of characters! This will be an interesting case to follow.

  • Bizarre article, strangely written, as if a Lovecraft character were documenting the case. So this took SEVEN YEARS? Seriously? The wheels of “justice” turn slowly in Mendo. More likely, they haven’t invented the wheel and just try to drag the thing back to the cave ….

  • I guess he’s never heard of Divorce!!!😣

    • I had read several years ago that when he found out his wife would get half of everything in a divorce, he went ballistic. How did he think it worked when you’re married more than 30 years? I guess he wasn’t as smart as we thought he was back in high school.

  • Tim Stoen the former People’s Temple lawyer kook who ran for Humb County DA ten or more years ago

    • He was up here for a little while. Gallegos thought he was wonderful enough to hire him. If you read any detailed accounts of Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple you will see that Jim Jones rise to power was made possible by Tim Stoen’s legal work. Tim Stoen made it possible- he was a true believer and now he is back in Ukiah where it all started. I never trust guys like that. Gallegos was quite the dipshit. He sold our county out to greenrushers and now has a business consulting them all how to jump through permit hoops. After encouraging them to go mega-grow he now encourages them to take the next step in destroying mom n pop. Another scumbag.

      • It’s obvious Gallegos ‘the surfin’ DA’ got Humboldt county voters to drink the Kool-Aid, not only once but twice. And So Hum still obliges to drink from the cup, except our current 2nd district supervisor is serving it up now.

  • Interesting that Keegan was working at IHS…

    Let’s go ahead and presume that no case will be proven, and that this is cheap theater and mostly a personal thing between the DA and the Dr…

  • yeah looks like bruce anderson of the ava may have been right about this one? hmm, he’s also been insisting for decades that mike sweeney bombed his ex-wife judi bari…double hmm…

  • Good Lord give us Mercy. Stoen worked for Gallegos; he didn’t run against Gallegos. Stoen was the lead attorney in Gallegos attempt to prosecute palco and maxxam execs for looting the Humboldt economy including our loggers’ retirement funds.
    Gallegos didn’t turn the tide toward mega-grows. The state water boards and your board of supervisors are doing a pretty good job of that however.

    • amimissingsomething

      Tim Stoen was directly responsible for the killing of Representative Leo Ryan and the wounding of the current representative (Jackie Spiers she was shot 5 times) of San Mateo. Had it not been for his wicked work with Jim Jones Leo Ryan may still have been alive today. jmho

  • Paul and his wife Joan are good folks,raising a family here in the county. I’m so tired of people blaming him for all the counties woes… I’m not a big fan of lawyers or LEO ‘s , but if you don’t get active in the community then quit bitchin about past history and your slanted view of it

      • I know you are watchful for racist comments. Do you have a policy on misogyny? The fish guts story had a couple of remarks that I thought offensive.
        I appreciate your excellent and often undervalued work.

    • AMEN!!!

    • I Know You I Saw You

      Not slanted. Very widely held amongst my circles. He might be a “nice guy” but he certainly fueled the greenrush. His public statements that he would not bother with “medical grows of 99 plants” was the stupidest thing ever. It was picked up by national media and people flocked here. People already here called in their cousins. It was the significant moment everybody was waiting for to “go for it”. An open invitation to openly grow 99 plants – anywhere from 100-600 pounds! We knew the medical thing was an easy scam- doctors advertising to sign you up sight unseen for $150 and no medical records just say you have migraines or cramps. Gallegos willfully looked the other way and was either extremely ignorant or complicit in what then happened to Humboldt County. All the mega-grow problems followed the early greenrush including -ironically-major environmental destruction…. There are many ways to be active besides bending over and celebrating your “compliancy” and I am quite active. I’m sorry that so many good, little people drank the kool-aid and are now being plowed over by the huge grows encouraged and supported by the likes of Gallegos and other “nice people”. I understand that those to gain from this sad situation all support and cherish each other. Of course you do! I find it less than attractive.

      • It was under his watch in 2008 that we had a rogue County Code Enforcement office doing illegal searches in citizens homes and on their properties. He had no clue (or maybe did) on what was going on with an office under his watch. He didn’t even approach the subject of looking into an internal investigation on why the office was using 100% false, inhouse information to obtain bogus search warrants.

    • Gallegos was not a good D.A. when he let’s a guy off Scott free after another person killed 3 innocent Girls and hurt another human being who lived but will never be the same ever again. Where was justice in this case? The Guy who caused this never even spent a day in Jail, was never given a drug test at his mommy’s request not to, He the driver lived in Eureka, Ca and was driving on a suspended license. Witnesses said he was speeding in the rain and his car had bald tires when he went off the road and hit a big Redwood tree that killed 3 girls and injured a 4th person and the driver walked away without even a scratch. We learned after the trial was over the overseeing the case judge Christopher Wilson dated this very drivers Aunt and that’s why the guy walked Scott free. The drivers name was Charles Meeks Jr. Of Eureka. If you have daughters please don’t let them get into the car with him. Just saying.

  • Thinking allowed

    Gee whiz. I must have the Gallegos Era where things he had some control over did not get worse. And worse. And worse.
    He did not create it but he certainly did his share of midwifery of diminishing respect for the law.

  • Lets see if I have this right.

    Mrs. Keegan found dead in her home in late 2010.

    DA David Eyster, elected soon after Mrs. Keegan’s death, immediately orders a thorough re-investigation.

    The results of that investigation were presented to a grand jury just this week.

    The grand jury brought down an indictment for murder.

    My questions;

    Why did it take over six years to present the evidence to a grand jury? If there was evidence to believe the doctor murdered his wife, was that evidence found years ago? Or did the investigation just wrap up recently?

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