Michael Keller sentenced: Washington man caught texting about molesting children on plane gets 15 years jail after concerned passenger observed large bold texts.
Michael Kellar, 58, was texting his girlfriend Gail Lynn Burnworth, 52, while on a flight to San Jose on July 31, 2017 when a passenger saw Kellar’s ‘disturbing’ messages on his cellphone, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in Washington’s Western District.
The concerned traveler told authorities that a man sitting in front of her was texting about the abuse with a large font on a large smartphone.
‘I commend the airline passenger who spoke up about the disturbing texts she witnessed on her flight,’ US Attorney Brian T. Moran said in a statement. ‘We all have had that moment when we question: ‘Do I get involved.’’
The defendant was a predator seeking the abuse of children:
In the text exchange, Kellar and Burnworth talked about using Benadryl to drug and rape two of the three children, aged 5 and 7 at the time, who lived with Burnworth.
The observant flier snapped a photo of Kellar’s phone and reported it to flight attendants, who alerted cops in San Diego. A review of Kellar’s electronic devices revealed him and Burnworth conspiring to sexually assault the children- with the pair subsequently arrested in August.
It was revealed Kellar was accessing his victims given Burnworth work as a baby-sitter.
‘This case for me … has been the most disturbing case that I have had,’ US District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said.
‘I commend the airline passenger who spoke up about the disturbing texts she witnessed on her flight,’ said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. ‘In this case, that witness triggered the rescue of two small children and the investigation that revealed this defendant to be a predator – collecting images of child sexual abuse.’
Kellar and Burnworth have been in custody since their arrests in 2017.
Kellar pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to produce child pornography and access with intent to view child pornography, the release said.
He will be on lifetime supervised release after being freed from prison and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Burnworth pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and will be sentenced March 27.