Missouri Radio Host in Mass. Trial Accused of Killing Wife for BMW

November 13, 2005

A radio journalist accused of poisoning his wife by spiking her Gatorade with antifreeze told a friend he planned to spend his life insurance money on a house and a BMW convertible, according to prosecutors.

He also said he would start a foundation in his wife’s name, the court documents said.

James Keown pleaded innocent last Thursday and was ordered held without bail. He was arrested earlier in the week during a commercial break at the radio station where he worked in Jefferson City, Mo., and was charged with first-degree murder in the September 2004 death of 31-year-old Julie Keown.

Prosecutors have said the couple was struggling financially after moving to the Boston area in early 2004 and that James Keown may have killed his wife for her $250,000 life insurance policy.

According to the documents, Keown told a close friend after his wife’s funeral, “I am going to take Julie’s insurance money, buy a BMW Z4 convertible, go back to Kansas City and build a house. With what money is left over, I am going to start a foundation in Julie’s name and run it for a few years.”

Julie Keown died Sept. 8, 2004, after complaining for months about dizziness, nausea and other symptoms. An autopsy found she’d been poisoned with ethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze.

About a month after the death, James Keown did move back to Missouri, where he had grown up, and got a job as a reporter and talk show host at radio station KLIK-AM. But he never collected the insurance money because her death came under investigation.

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