Randall Keller charged with murder of 2-year-old child

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 25, 2013 

Robert Guy Keller, 28, was charged with the murder of a 2-year-old child Wednesday after police served an outstanding warrant, according to a Columbus Police Department press release.

Sgt. Frank Massa said Keller is charged with the death of his 2-year-old stepson, William Robert Powell. Massa said Keller allegedly injured the child at 4433 Lon Drive on June 7.

According to a police report, EMS workers arrived at the residence on Lon Drive at about 4:30 a.m. on June 7. Powell was unresponsive, and was taken to the Medical Center Emergency Room, where he was seen by a doctor who had him immediately transferred to Scottish Rite in Atlanta to see a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Two days later, the child died of head trauma at Scottish Rite. His time of death was 9:15 a.m., according to the Muscogee County Coroner's Office. No details were available on injuries the child sustained.

Keller will have a preliminary hearing for the charge in Recorder's Court Saturday at 9 a.m.

According to the Muscogee County Jail, Keller was booked on June 10 on charges of second degree burglary, possession and use of drug related objects and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Police began investigating Keller's suspected connection a burglary after a neighbor reported on June 7 that Keller was seen taking documents, including check stubs, from her Ford Explorer, according to a police report. On June 8, police executed a search warrant at his Lon Drive residence, where they found Keller asleep on the couch with about half an ounce of marijuana. A glass pipe, digital scale and grinder were also found.

Investigators later found the neighbor's papers in Keller's trash can.

The neighbor's son, 18-year-old Marquise Mathis, said his mother woke him up at about 2 a.m. on June 7 after she noticed Keller breaking into her truck. When Mathis and his mother went out to confront Keller, he allegedly began yelling at them and brandished a knife.

"The police said they couldn't prove at first that he'd taken anything, but I saw him run down the street with the papers," Mathis said.

Mathis, whose family has lived on Lon Drive for about 12 years, said the neighborhood was generally a quiet area until Keller moved into his residence about three months ago. Since then, Mathis said at least two neighbors have had their homes broken into, and that police have visited Keller's residence at least once every two weeks.

"When they got here, everybody started having their house broken into," Mathis said. "This is a good neighborhood. We don't normally have these problems."

Mathis said Keller and two women who seemed to live at the residence often greeted neighbors, but weren't sociable or well known. He said he only saw Powell once in the backyard since the residents moved in, but did not remember any injuries on the child.

Mathis said his family hasn't seen anyone go into the house since Thursday, when the two women were seen moving furniture and other belongings out of the residence.

More details will be added as they become available.

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