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Case against man charged with trying to hire killer is continued

May 17, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- The case of a Hagerstown man charged with trying to hire someone to kill his wife was to have gone to trial today in Washington County Circuit Court but was continued to a later date, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said Monday.

The trial of James Eugene Keiser Jr., 45, was continued because a witness was unavailable, Cirincion said Monday. Cirincion said she expected two unrelated cases against Keiser to proceed today.

Keiser, of 1044 Fairview Road, was a prisoner at the Washington County Detention Center when he tried to hire another prisoner to kill his wife, Shirley Keiser, according to allegations in the application for statement of charges filed by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

During Christmas week in 2009, Keiser asked the other man if he would be interested in making $15,000, the application alleged.

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"Who do I have to kill?" the prisoner jokingly asked Keiser, according to the application for statement of charges.

"My wife," Keiser responded, the application alleges.

The prisoner alleged to authorities that Keiser continued to talk about having his wife killed, in January giving the other prisoner a description of where his wife was living and a description of her house, the application alleged. On Jan. 14, 2010, Keiser gave the prisoner, who was due to be released from the detention center on Jan. 20, the code to override the burglar alarm system at the woman's house, the statement alleged.

Investigators spoke with Shirley Keiser, who confirmed the override code for the alarm system and other details that James Keiser had given the prisoner, the application for statement of charges said.

A deputy with the Sheriff's Office's Domestic Violence Unit took James Keiser into custody on Dec. 16, 2009, for an earlier incident, the application for statement of charges said. As he was being driven to the sheriff's office, Keiser told the deputy he intended to harm his wife, the application alleged.

Keiser is charged with second-degree assault in the Dec. 16 incident, according to the application for statement of charges in that case. Cirincion said a suppression hearing is expected to be held in that case.

The third case is for an alleged violation of a protective order, according to court records. In that case, Keiser mailed a letter to his wife from the detention center on Dec. 28, 2009, in violation of a temporary protective order dated Dec. 16, according to allegations in the application for statement of charges.

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