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Update: PAROLE GRANTED.
Shawn Keffer, the murderer of Brian Dennis, was parole in May 2005
despite our protests. He was taken off all supervision in May 2010.
in 1980, Brian Dennis' legacy lives on.
Brian Dennis wanted to make a difference.
He wanted to make the world a better, safer place. In 1978, at
the age of 18, he decided to follow his brother Paul's footsteps
and joined the army. The first time Brian came home he adorned
his uniform to make his mother proud. One day he hoped to come
home a hero. Instead Brian was given an honorable discharge.
He was too weak and small and the army wanted him to come back
when he was older. Brian Dennis would never get the chance. On
the night of April 11th, 1980, Shawn Keffer, who had bullied
Brian Dennis since the third grade, was determined to bully Brian
for the last time. Prior to a party both he and Brian were attending,
Keffer hid a shotgun and a knife under the patio of the house
where the party was to take place. Later that night those weapons
would be used to commit one of the most brutal crimes in Columbus,
A Brutal Murder
Keffer did not wait long to make his
initial attempt to kill Brian. He attacked Brian during the party,
and tried to throw him off a fire escape. Fortunately, Brian's
friend pulled Keffer off before he could plunge Brian to his
death. Keffer,would not be deterred from his evil mission. When
Brian left the party, Keffer told several people he was going
to "Cut Brian's heart out". No one believed he was
serious. Keffer followed Brian into an alley. Then he stabbed
the small, meek 19-year old 72 times. He also threw a concrete
slab on Brian's face. Brian was still breathing so Keffer then
put a shotgun to Brian's head and fired it at point blank range
literally blowing half Brian's face off.
When Keffer came back to the party covered
in blood, they knew they should have listened to him. Keffer
calmly walked to the attic, changed his clothes, hid the bloody
clothes, and went back to the party. When Brian's friends went
to look for Brian, it was too late. They found what was left
of Brian's body in a trash bag. A Saint Bernard was eating Brian's
At the time of Brian's murder Keffer
was on shock parole for attempted drug trafficking and robbery.
He had served only three years of a possible ten-year sentence.
He killed Brian just months after his release from prison. Although
he refused to admit the crime the evidence was overwhelming.
Keffer was found guilty by jury of aggravated murder, the most
serious of all murder charges. He escaped the death penalty only
because there was no death penalty in Ohio at the time of the
crime. Keffer was so proud of what he had done he hid Brian's
autopsy photos in his prison cell to admire until the Ohio Department
of Corrections confiscated them. Years later Keffer openly admitted
his crime on a local TV program about drugs. During the interview
he confessed to all he had done to Brian and showed no emotion
as he described his brutal acts. The jury's aggravated murder
conviction years earlier, which resulted in the life sentence,
was undoubtedly the correct decision.
Brian's mother fought several times and
successfully kept brutal murderer Shawn Keffer behind bars. In
March 2005 something was different. Brian's mother died in January
2004 and was no longer able to fight for Brian. This was a huge
break for Keffer and he knew it. According to an anonymous letter
sent to a local reporter the day Brian's mother died Keffer had
a party in the commons area and was high fiving all the inmates.
He believed this was the final obstacle to his release. He was
Despite a valiant fight by Brian Dennis'
sister, an opposition letter from Franklin County Prosecutor
Ron O' Brien, and letters of protest from eight Ohio Senators,
members of the Ohio House of Representatives, law enforcement,
and citizens across the United States, Shawn Keffer was released
on parole on May 11th, 2005. The letter to notify Brian's family
of Keffer's release date as well as the details of his parole
was never received by the family. The media informed them of
the details. Since Keffer's parole we have received several reports
of Keffer violating his parole. We also have received highly
confidential Franklin County documents corroborating this information.
All calls to the department of corrections and Keffer's parole
officer have been ignored. In May 2010 Keffer comes off all parole
Brian Dennis' was our first major case.
It also was one of only two cases we have lost in the last six
years. It was the turning point for our organization. We turned
our anger and frustration into a force for positive change. Shortly
after Brian's murderer was paroled we successfully passed Laura's
Law in Ohio. Both the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio
Senate unanimously passed the bill. Brian's family was there
with us when former Ohio Governor Bob Taft signed the bill into
law. We continue to work on getting this law passed nationally.
In 2008 we successfully drafted and introduced Roberta's Law
into the Ohio Legislature. This law would eliminate the secrecy
of the Ohio Parole Board and would force them to be accountable
for their decisions. We will continue our effort to get this
bill passed. In 2009 we launched Blockparole.com which allows
the public to easily voice their opposition to the paroles of
dangerous inmates. Most importantly we have assisted in blocking
the paroles of well over two-dozen violent offenders. This includes
several child killers, child rapists and cop killers all who
likely would have raped and killed again. It took 25 years however
in the end Brian Dennis became exactly what he wanted to be all
those years ago. A hero.
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