City shocked over stabbing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2000

Thursday, May 11, 2000

Police are continuing the search today for a Sureway Cab Co. driver’s killer.

"We’re still following up on information the public has been calling in," Ironton Police Department detective Capt. Chris Bowman said. "And we’ve had a lot of calls."

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No suspects have been identified yet, but there are several leads to check, Bowman said.

The cab driver, William C. Keen, 62, of Ironton, was found dead early Wednesday morning in an alley off South Fourth Street between Ashtabula and Clinton streets, only a few feet away from his car.

Keen suffered a stab wound and his throat appeared to have been cut, Bowman said.

Everyone in the area is talking about the brutal slaying and wondering why and how something like this could happen, said Matt Burcham, Ameri-Lube technician, this morning.

"Everybody is wanting to know what happened because it was so vicious," Burcham said. "It was gruesome."

But Burcham never would have thought a murder had occured when he came into work Wednesday morning.

"When I came in at 8:20 a.m. yesterday, I though Desco had been robbed – the way it was all roped off," he said.

Keen was a regular at Buster’s Bi-Lo. He would come in almost every morning. For him to be murdered nearby has caused fear to race through the neighborhood, said Jeremy Cecil, Buster’s Bi-Lo clerk.

"The way people are talking they think the guy will get by with it and he’ll do it again," Cecil said. "I was talking to a woman this morning. After she heard about the murder, she told her husband to keep the doors locked."

Everyone is beefing up security since the incident, including the Bi-Lo, Cecil said.

"We have beepers," he said. "One touch and the police are called. We have to keep them right beside us."

Unfortunately, Cecil thinks the crime rate in the area will get worse before it gets better. People dependent upon welfare might get more desperate once benefits begin to dwindle or disappear, he said.

"Talk about having a lot of robbing then," Cecil said.

But Burcham doesn’t think recent job losses in the area were the cause of this particular incident.

"Everyone wants to blame this on crime because of the jobs we’ve lost, but no one is that desperate yet. I think this was something else," he said.

An autopsy of Keen’s body is scheduled for Friday, Bowman said.

And it’s still unclear what happened between Keen’s last contact with cab company dispatchers and when his body was found, he said.

What effect, if any, that recent city cutbacks in police staff because of budget problems has on the investigation or police patrols remains to be seen, Bowman said.