Man charged with father’s murder appears in court

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man accused of murdering his father, then later attempting to impersonate his dad while trying to get across the border, faced a judge Friday afternoon.

Sean Keenan was led into court in hand and leg shackles. The 21-year-old barely glanced at the more than 30 friends and family who came to attend his felony hearing on a second degree murder charge.

His brief appearance in court did not shine any light on how his 70-year-old father, Dr. John Keenan, was killed inside his home on Hillsboro Drive in Orchard Park. Sources tell News 4 Dr. Keenan, who is respected around the world for teaching leadership courses, was beaten and/or stabbed.

Authorities stopped Sean Keenan while he was trying to cross the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. Customs agents found him carrying his father’s ID, and it’s suspected he cut his hair to try to look more like his father.

The discovery prompted Orchard Park Police to go to the family home on to check on Dr. Keenan, where they discovered he had been killed.

At court Friday, Sean Keenan’s friend Josh Smyth said, “Sean is a great friend. Sean has always been there for me and anybody I’m friends with. Anybody who needed anything Sean was always there. That person wasn’t Sean. Sean is a great kid who and a great human being.”

His former girlfriend, Nikiya Garza said, “It was wasn’t the best home. It was a troubled home for sure but it’s not our place really to talk about details of any sort. But we know him as a great kid. We were all shocked to hear this. We didn’t know what to think. We still don’t know what to think.”

Police say the father and son lived together in the home, along with Mrs. Keenan, who was in Texas looking after a sick relative and was not home at the time of the murder. The Keenan home is up for sale for more than a half-million dollars.

Dr. Keenan worked as a consultant, traveling all over the world, coaching corporate executives, teachers, and other professionals.

“John’s one of those guys I trust implicitly. There aren’t a whole lot of those people out there,” family friend Scott Simmerman said. “He was one of those people I really liked to work with, because he was really trying to leave an impact.”

Orchard Park Town Justice Lynne Keane submitted a not guilty plea on Keenan’s behalf when he was arraigned Monday without an attorney. Attorney Kevin Spittler now represents Keenan, and reaffirmed the not guilty plea.

Friday’s felony hearing was postponed on the possibility that a grand jury will soon hand up an indictment. Sean Keenan will remain in jail without bail until his next court day on July 24, unless a grand jury indicts him beforehand.

His friends told News 4 that his mother was not present in court on Friday. 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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