Man who killed for fun draws life term

April 15, 1995|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Sun Staff Writer

Described by a prosecutor as a Jack the Ripper who slit a Dundalk woman's throat for pleasure, Ronald Edward Keihl was sentenced to life without parole plus 30 years yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Keihl, 28, was convicted in November of murder, armed robbery and housebreaking in the August 1992 death of Patricia Jane Kaczynski, 44, whose head was nearly severed as she slept on the couch at her home on Liberty Parkway.

Long a suspect in the killing, Keihl was convicted because he boasted to a cellmate, said Assistant State's Attorney Jason G. League. Keihl was being held on unrelated robbery charges that later were dropped.

The prosecutor called Keihl "the greatest threat that I have come upon" and told Judge Barbara Kerr Howe he didn't make the Jack the Ripper comparison lightly. He recalled the cellmate's testimony of Keihl saying that "he would loved to have been a fly on the wall when Mr. Kaczynski found Mrs. Kaczynski."

"He teased Patricia Kaczynski with her life, and at that last moment, on his own whim, for his own pleasure, he took her life," Mr. League said. "He kills for no reason other than that he enjoys it."

Keihl burglarized the home for money to buy drugs, according to the testimony. He randomly chose the Kaczynski home, removed a pane in the kitchen door and unlocked the door.

Before sentencing, a defiant Keihl told Judge Howe: "I stand before this court today to say to this court I did not do this crime. I will not ask this court for mercy because I did not, absolutely did not do this crime of which I have been charged and wrongly convicted."

Co-defendant David Wayne Couch, 27, who told police he waited outside with no idea Keihl would kill, was convicted of felony murder in June 1993 and sentenced to life in prison.

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