A Chester County man was charged Wednesday with fatally shooting his girlfriend with a shotgun during a domestic dispute last week while three children were in the house.

Keith Robert Smith, 43, then attempted to kill himself with the gun, officials said. The victim, Wesley Webb, 40, recorded the audio of the shootings on her phone.

The Schuylkill Township man was charged with first-degree murder, endangering the welfare of children, and related offenses.

Smith was living with the victim and three children - all under age 14 - in the 300 block of Buckwalter Road.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. May 2, Smith and the victim had a quarrel, and the victim said she wanted to leave with two of the children as it continued, police said.

Smith is accused of then grabbing his single-shot 12-gauge shotgun and shooting the victim once in the chest as she sat on a couch in the living room.

Smith then shot himself in the face, according to police.

The three children, who were upstairs at the time, came down and discovered the scene. One of the children called 911.

Smith was transported to a hospital, where he is in stable condition, according to police.

Just before the shooting, the victim activated an audio recording program on her phone, and it recorded the shooting and the arrival of police.

The shooting was the first homicide in Schuylkill Township in decades, said Police Chief James Fetterman.

Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan called the slaying "savage, selfish, and cowardly."

"The defendant was focused on killing his girlfriend," he said. "He callously ignored the fact that he was killing somebody who also was a mom, a sister, and a daughter."

Due to changes to Pennsylvania's wiretap law in 2012, the victim's recording will be admissible in court, Hogan said.

Smith will be transferred to the Chester County Prison when he is medically discharged.


610-313-8207 @MichaelleBond