Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Kellers and Their Millions

A Bloody Meeting

The ER nurse at St. Marys Medical Center in Palm Beach, Fla., must have thought shed stepped into an episode of Falcon Crest.

She was tending the gunshot wound of Fred Keller, a well-heeled denizen of ritzy Lake Worth, when Keller noticed that another gunshot case had been wheeled into ER.

Keller, 70, became agitated at the sight of the second man, a young German named Wolfgang Keil. He was Kellers adversary in the gunfight that led both of them to the hospital.

Fred Keller
Fred Keller

Keller, who had a well-deserved reputation as a control freak, wanted to know how he and Keil had ended up at the same hospitals emergency room.

He tried to kill me! Keller cried.

Wolfgang Keil
Wolfgang Keil

Keil, blood leaching from two holes in his body, spat back, He tried to kill me!

It was a soap-opera moment, but this drama was not make-believe. It was life and death.

Elsewhere in Palm Beach, the beautiful young woman who was Kellers ex-wife and Keils sister lay dead as a result of the same violent incident.

The shooting happened during an early-morning meeting between the three that was called to work out divorce settlement details concerning Kellers $72 million fortune.

The meeting did not go well.

Keller claimed he saw Wolfgang Keil extract a black object from his briefcase. Believing the object was a gun, Keller brandished his own .38-caliber revolver.

Shots and a frenzied struggle ensued between Keil and Keller.

By the time it was over, Rose Keller lay fatally wounded in the neck. Fred Keller suffered a wound to the cheek, and Keil was hit in the chest and back.

The question of who fired the shot that killed Rose Kellerthe ex-husband or the brotheron that day in the fall of 2003 has kept a gaggle of attorneys occupied every since.


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