Former Reporter and Talk Show Host Guilty of Murdering Wife with Antifreeze

In Massachusetts, former radio reporter and talk how host on KLIK-AM, James Keown has been found guilty of killing his wife, Julie Keown, with antifreeze in her Gatorade. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder — purportedly committed for Julie’s $250,000 life insurance policy.

Julie, 31, died of a lethal dose of ethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze, which prosecutors alleged was slowly added to her drinks. After Keown gave her a lethal dose, she went into a coma and died days later.

Computer evidence was key, including a search that Keown allegedly did days before her death on “ethylene glycol death human.” Keown was facing serious financial problems after being fired — after his employer learned that he had lied about getting into Harvard Business School.

At trial, his counsel present a defense that may have been too defuse: alleging that she either killed herself or accidentally took the poison. This may be a case where a clear narrative would have helped. Optional theories do not work well when the prosecution has a concise and clear narrative of murder. Moreover, neither of these options seems plausible. Killing yourself slowly with antifreeze is hardly a likely choice for a suicidal individual and it is hard to see how you accidentally mix your Gratorade with antifreeze.

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2 thoughts on “Former Reporter and Talk Show Host Guilty of Murdering Wife with Antifreeze”

  1. Dear Mr. Turley,

    Thank you for your fine work.

    I wonder if you could help me with a legal point pertaining to this case. Mrs. Keown did not die on her own; she was removed from life support. The Prime Time feature on the case implied that her parents made that decision, although presumably the husband would be the next-of-kin as in the Schiavo case.

    My question is this: in a case where an attempted murder by a third party results in a coma and the person is removed from life support by their next-of-kin, is it clear that the charge of murder applies? Has this ever been specifically adjudicated to your knowledge? (The film, Fracture, assumed that the murder charge would be triggered, but is this matter entirely clear?)


    Jay D. Homnick
    (American Spectator,
    Human Events)

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