The cause of death on Susan Keegan's death certificate has been changed from “accidental” to “homicide,” meaning that Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster has new evidence that the popular Ukiah woman did not die in November of 2010 from an accidental fall in her bathroom as initially found by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.
Dr. Peter Keegan said only he and his wife were in the Keegan home the night of Mrs. Keegan's death. Dr. Keegan told police he found his wife dead in her bathroom early in the morning after her return from a visit with friends in Santa Rosa.
Peter Keegan is as well-known in the Ukiah Valley as his late wife was. He has functioned as family doctor to many inland families and was briefly notorious a few years ago as an advocate for marijuana. As a pot advocate, Dr. Keegan also did a thriving business in medical marijuana prescriptions.
Mrs. Keegan, as her husband told investigators, allegedly died while she was under the influence of alcohol and drugs in a bathroom fall, managing to twice lacerate the top of her head in what has been characterized as a vertical drop. Her husband, the only other person in the house at the time of his wife’s death, said Mrs. Keegan was drunk, and probably had been drinking after taking the pain medication he said she regularly took for a back injury.
The doctor told police that his wife was addicted to both drink and pharmaceuticals, but Mrs. Keegan's closest friends said they had never seen Mrs. Keegan take more than a social drink or two, and that they had never seen her drunk.
The night of her death, Mrs. Keegan had visited friends in Santa Rosa. She had consumed one glass of wine with her friends, then drove north to her South Ukiah home, arriving at about 10pm. Friends say it is highly unlikely that Mrs. Keegan began drinking at that hour. Her husband said the couple lived separately in their home each with his and her bathrooms.
Dr. Keegan said he found his wife dead in her bathroom the morning after she had visited her Santa Rosa friends. She had a deep gash or gashes to the top of her head, which officers investigating the scene, led by Sgt. Poma of the Sheriff's Department, concluded had resulted from a fall in the bathroom where Mrs. Keegan was found. An autopsy revealed alcohol and prescription drugs in her blood.
It is known that Doctor Keegan had demanded a divorce from his wife of 32 years with whom he has two grown sons. Friends of the couple say that Peter Keegan had become verbally abusive towards Mrs. Keegan, and unreasonably irate when he discovered that under California law a wife is entitled to half a couple's property. Mrs. Keegan had planned to resume her life as a single person in the Santa Rosa area where she'd been the night before her death looking for possible places to live.
Soon after his wife's death, Dr. Keegan began a relationship with Elizabeth 'Libby' Crawford of the Ukiah Valley's Crawford Ranch. He also soon retained the services of the talented Ukiah criminal defense attorney, Keith Faulder, causing persons following the case to wonder why a man would need a criminal defense lawyer if his wife had died accidentally.
Doctor Keegan presently works at the Indian Health Center in Covelo. He had been quick to brandish the old death certificate that said his wife had died accidentally in a bathroom fall. He isn't likely to brandish the re-write that strongly suggests he's a killer.