Cops Say Barking Dog May Have Led to Murder of Elderly Couple

Massachusetts State Police
Massachusetts State Police

A manhunt is underway in Marshfield, Massachusetts, for a 27-year-old accused of brutally murdering a married couple at their home—supposedly just after he’d been thrown out of the house over a barking dog, authorities say.

Cops responded to the home of Carl and Vicki Mattson, both 70, on Tuesday night to conduct a wellness check. Once inside the two-story home, they discovered the couple had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz.

The suspected killer, Christopher Keeley, hastily left the Mattsons’ home after their slaughter, cops say, leaving behind their bodies and an overturned bookcase that suggests there was a struggle, CBS News reported, citing court documents.

The killing has been deemed a targeted attack, with one of Keeley’s friends—the same person who called cops to conduct a wellness check on the couple—revealing chilling details about the 27-year-old.

Keeley had recently been kicked out of the Mattsons’ home and was acting “psychotic,” his friend told cops. His eviction enraged Keeley, the friend said, and Keeley was talking about harming people, including the couple who once housed him.

The friend added that Keeley was known to carry knives, CBS reported.

“This does not appear to be a random act of violence,” Cruz said Wednesday. “This appears to be a targeted attack against these two individuals.”

Cruz added that Keeley is “armed and dangerous.” The exact day and time of the attack remains unknown, Cruz said, and authorities have not released details about the supposed dog barking argument—or who the dog belonged to.

Authorities said Keeley had been living with the couple as a favor to a family member. Their exact relationship has not been released.

Cops have not said whether Keeley is considered an ongoing threat to the public. Marshfield, a city of 25,000, is about 30 miles southeast of Boston.

Keeley was last known to be driving a 2019 black Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that belonged to the Mattsons. The SUV was found abandoned Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities say Keeley may have dyed his hair red to look different from an old mugshot that’s been circulating across Massachusetts since Wednesday morning.

Keeley’s family called the couple’s slaying a “senseless tragedy,” adding that they’ve cooperated with local cops since they first heard Christopher was considered the prime suspect.

“The events that are alleged to have occurred are shocking and truly devastating to all involved,” the family’s attorney said in a statement to NBC Boston. “Our hearts go out to the entire Mattson family for their loss.”

Keeley has been arrested several times in southeast Massachusetts on charges of assault, malicious destruction of property, and breaking and entering.

When Keeley was 21, in 2016, he was arrested and charged for beating up an autistic man before stealing his cellphone and wallet—a planned attack that Keeley carried out with three others, according to court docs obtained by The Patriot Ledger.

Court docs say the attack ended after one of the women involved—who had texted the autistic man to lure him—rushed in to stop the beating, but not before the man became so injured he later required a neck brace.

“She stated that she eventually stopped the assault because she knew he was getting hurt and never meant for that to happen,” a police report said, according to the Patriot Ledger.

Keeley was found to “be dangerous” by a Massachusetts judge after the crime but was released on $5,000 cash bail, reported the Patriot Ledger. Keeley was ordered to wear an ankle monitor and other restrictions, which included a ban on drugs, alcohol, and a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

The case was later transferred to another court, where Keeley pleaded guilty. He was then sentenced to 18 months at a house of corrections, the paper reported.

Just six months after Keeley turned 18, court docs say he was charged with malicious damage to a motor vehicle after he shattered his grandmother's car window after an argument over a phone charger.

Keeley’s most recent charges, according to the Patriot Ledger, included drug charges after he was allegedly pulled over with Xanax and marijuana in his car. He was charged with possession and intent to distribute marijuana and Xanax, conspiracy to violate drug laws, carrying brass knuckles, driving with a suspended license, and several other lesser charges, the Patriot Ledger reported.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.