Jury Recommends Death Sentence in Insurance Murder Scheme
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A jury recommended the death sentence Monday for a man convicted of tossing his pregnant bride overboard and watching until she sank so he could collect $200,000 in insurance.
Michael Scott Keen, 37, took the stand for 21/2 hours before the jury made its decision, maintaining his innocence but not asking the jury to spare his life.
Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning set sentencing for July 17 and has the choice of agreeing with the jury or sentencing Keen to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years served before parole.
The jury deliberated for an hour before recommending that Keen should die in Florida’s electric chair for the Nov. 15, 1981, drowning death of 22-year- old Lucia Anita Lopez Keen.
Mrs. Keen’s body was never found, but Kenneth Shapiro, a former friend of Keen’s, testified that he saw Keen throw his wife, who was pregnant, off a cabin cruiser and leave her to die in the ocean 20 miles off Port Everglades.
Keen had married his wife only 31/2 months before.
Two months before the Keens married, Shapiro said, he saw Mrs. Keen sign two life insurance policies that named Keen as beneficiary of $200,000 in accidental death benefits.
More than a year before he met his wife, Keen had discussed a plan ″to find an unsuspecting girl and kill her for profit″ so he could retire by age 40, Shapiro said.
Shapiro, 32, has not been charged with any crime, said prosecutor Rob Careny, but was not granted immunity for his testimony.
Mrs. Keen’s mother said she wanted Keen sentenced to death.
″If he gets the electric chair, we want to be present,″ said Inez Lopez. ″He not only killed my daughter, but killed my grandchild. He killed two people.″