A man was convicted Friday of murdering a former professional basketball player in an ambush outside his home in northwest suburban Bloomingdale.
Jeffrey Keller, 54, could face life in prison for the Dec. 22, 2014, shooting death of 37-year-old Nate Fox, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.
Keller incorrectly thought that Fox was having an affair with a woman that Keller was interested in, and became “maniacally unhinged” while stalking the younger man for more than a year, prosecutors said.
The obsession culminated with Keller unscrewing a lightbulb and waiting in the shadows outside the garage of Fox’s home in the 200 block of Tamarack Lane in Bloomingdale. When Fox returned from work that night, Keller shot him twice as he got out of his car, prosecutors said.
Fox — whom Keller had never met — was taken to a hospital where he died of gunshot wounds to the wrist and shoulder, prosecutors said.
Authorities traced the attack to Keller and arrested the Hinsdale resident about three weeks later.
During a six-day trial this month, Keller acknowledged that he had planned to accost Fox, but claimed that the shooting was accidental and happened during a struggle.
“Not surprisingly, the jury saw through Mr. Keller’s ridiculous and cowardly attempt to avoid responsibility for killing Nate Fox,” DuPage County state’s attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. It took about an hour for them to return a guilty verdict on Friday.
Fox graduated from Plainfield High School with a full basketball scholarship to Boston College, according to his obituary. He transferred to the University of Maine, obtained his communications degree and went on to play 13 seasons of professional basketball in Europe. He finished his career by winning the Belgian Basketball Cup, the top tier national competition in Belgium.
Keller had been jailed without bond since January 2015. His first pre-sentencing hearing is July 13.