A man has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for murdering a former professional basketball player in an ambush outside his west suburban home in 2014.
Officials announced the sentence Friday against 54-year-old Jeffrey Keller, who was found guilty in May of the December 22, 2014, shooting death of 37-year-old Nate Fox, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.
Keller mistekenly thought Fox was having an affair with a woman he 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 Fox’ garage 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 former Hinsdale resident about three weeks later.
During a six-day trial in May, Keller acknowledged that he had planned to accost Fox, but claimed the shooting was accidental and happened during a struggle.
Fox graduated from Plainfield High School with a full basketball scholarship to Boston College, according to his obituary. He later transferred to the University of Maine, obtained a communications degree and went on to play 13 seasons of professional basketball in Europe. He finished his career by winning the Belgian Basketball Cup, a top tier national competition.
Keller has been jailed without bond since January 2015. He will be required to serve 100 percent of his sentence without being eligible for parole.
“With the final chapter of this needless tragedy completed, it is my sincerest hope Nate Fox’s family and friends will now be able to gain some measure of closure with the knowledge that the man who killed Nate Fox will spend the rest of his life behind bars,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement.