DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver court formally dismissed the murder case against an unlicensed security guard who shot and killed a man at a rally in 2020.
Matthew Dolloff had been charged with second-degree murder.
In 2020, he was working for 9News to protect their journalists during a Patriot Muster and counterprotest.
Police said Dolloff shot and killed Lee Keltner during a confrontation. They said Keltner hit Dolloff in the face then discharged pepper spray while Dolloff simultaneously fired one shot.
Prosecutors told the judge they did not believe they could prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“We’d be unable to disprove the affirmative defense of self-defense and defense of others,” Zach McCabe said in court.
This decision was very upsetting to Lee’s family and friends. A group of them protested outside the courthouse.
“Lee should be alive right now,” said Suzan Keltner, Lee’s sister.
She wanted to read a statement in court but was not allowed to do that once the case was dismissed.
“Our family believes this is an assassination of our patriotic brother because he loved our country and loved his family,” Suzan said.
In a statement, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in part, “My heart goes out to the friends and family of Mr. Keltner. However, without provocation, Mr. Keltner verbally threatened and physically assaulted Mr. Dolloff and was the initial aggressor before being shot. Under Colorado’s law, Matthew Dolloff had no duty to retreat and was legally justified in his actions.”
Criminal defense attorney Chris Decker said it’s the prosecutor’s job to “disprove self-defense.”
“The law of self-defense is very clear,” Decker said. “You may stand your ground, and you have no duty to retreat.”
Decker said people in Colorado may meet unlawful violence with the type and degree of force that is reasonably necessary, under the circumstances, to protect themselves.
“If someone pushes you, you probably can’t pull out a gun and shoot them,” Decker said.