The Tim Buckley Archives


Penal Aftermath of Tim Buckley's Death

Los Angeles, March 23 1976

Musician Richard Keeling, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the narcotics death of singer Tim Buckley, is behind bars after failing a chance to avoid jail through volunteer work. The sentence is 120 days and includes four years probation. Keeling pleaded guilty last November in Santa Monica Superior Court. He was then working toward a doctorate in music at UCLA.

Judge Charles H. Woodmansee offered to suspend the jail time if Keeling worked as a part-time assistant in a Venice school and otherwise lived up to terms of probation. Dep. Dist. Atty. Harvey Giss said school officials turned down the plan.

Giss said he favored involuntary manslaughter rather than murder because of cloudy aspects in the case. Evidence, he said, indicated Keeling had not offered Buckley any narcotics. He merely left some heroin in an ash tray on the fatal day, March 5, 1975. Buckley died in his home shortly after sniffing the heroin, which he apparently mistook for something else.

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