On Thanksgiving, 2009, James Williams died, beaten to death in what was described as a drunken and violent scene in a home on Barlow Lane in Bishop. Inyo District Attorney Art Maillet sent out a press release Monday to say that after four weeks of testimony, a jury found Edward Keller, Jr. guilty of second degree murder.
Sheriff’s officers had said that Keller confessed to the murder in a taped interview in December of 2009. During a preliminary hearing a year ago, the tape was played for the court. Keller could be heard telling of how he and his cousins got together with a half gallon of Captain Morgan rum and other alcohol. Keller said the drunken night turned violent. He indicated to officers that he killed James Williams because he had beat up on Keller’s cousin.
The jury heard testimony all of March and went into deliberations last week. The DA’s press release, his first communication with media in many months, said the jury found Keller guilty of murder in the second degree and guilty of use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the murder.
Joel Samuels of the DA’s office prosecuted the case. Tom Hardy, as public defender, represented Keller. Sentencing is scheduled for April 26.