Man accused of killing father tried to get across border

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in the death of his father.

Police say 70-year-old Dr. John Keenan of Hillsboro Drive in Orchard Park was found dead in his home Monday morning. Police have charged one of his two sons, Sean Keenan, with murdering his father. News 4 has learned that John Keenan was found beaten and/or stabbed to death.

WATCH | Watch the Orchard Park Police press conference from Tuesday morning

Officers were called to the home at around 9:30 Monday morning to check on the welfare of John Keenan after getting a call from agents at the U.S.-Canada border. News 4 has learned that Sean Keenan had tried to use his father’s travel documents, possibly his passport, to cross the border at the Rainbow Bridge and had shaved back his hair in an attempt to look more like the 70-year-old man.

Sean did make it over the bridge but was detained during a secondary inspection. Agents at the border then called Orchard Park Police suggesting they check on the welfare of John Keenan.

The Keenan home is up for sale for more than a half-million dollars. Sean Keenan lived with his parents. His mother was in Texas, according to police, looking after a sick relative. His brother lives in Wisconsin.

Keenan was the founder and president of the Institute for Leadership and Global Education. He spent much of his time traveling the world and coaching everyone from corporate executives who gathered in Manchester, England, to teachers in Singapore and Trinidad, how to be better communicators and leaders.

He is also being remembered at St. Bonaventure University where he helped start a Masters program in leadership in 1998. He served as director until 2001.

St. Bonaventure Marketing and Media Relations Director Tom Missel said, “It’s just sad to see essentially a former colleague whose life was taken so tragically and obviously the university expresses its deepest condolences to the family.”

One of Dr. Keenan’s friends and colleagues, Dr. Scott Simmerman, said “He was trying to change lives. He focused on leadership to make the workplace better.”

Dr. Simmerman, also a management leadership consultant, said, “It was so good to work with John. I’ve never once seen him angry. He was always level headed and just open and honest.”

Learning of his friend’s death, he said, “I’m still in shock. I can’t believe anybody would be motivated to kill John.”

Orchard Park Police have been tight-lipped about the investigation.

Chief Mark Pacholec explained, “First of all, we weren’t sure initially what we had. Second, because of parts of the investigation we didn’t want to title it a homicide until we knew where we’d be going.”

Police say they have had previous encounters with Sean Keenan and have been called to the home previously, though Sean Keenan does not have a criminal record. The police chief said there was no indication that Sean was under the influence of drugs when he was taken into custody.

He has been arraigned and was taken to the Erie County Holding Center. He will return to court Friday at 4 p.m.

Sean Keenan may face additional charges of carrying a false document, in addition to second degree murder. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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