JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. -- No charges will be filed against a Johnson County man who shot his neighbor during a dispute in June. That neighbor is still in the hospital in critical condition, and the whole incident was caught on camera.
Johnson County prosecutors say Dean Keller was within his rights to open fire on his neighbor Jeffrey Weigle during a dispute. They say the aggression Weigle was showing towards his Keller left Keller with no choice but to fear for his life.
In the video, Weigle can be seen on his lawnmower pulling out a gun during the argument. Keller then draws his own weapon and begins to fire, hitting Weigle four times in the chest. Weigle also managed to return fire, but did not hit Keller.
Attorney and firearms instructor Guy Relford, who is not connected to the case, reviewed the video and believes when Weigle brandished his own weapon, prosecutors likely believed Keller took that as a direct threat to the safety of him and his wife, even if Weigle hadn’t intended to shoot.
“When he first started waving it around, you almost get the impression that he was trying to say ‘Hey, look I’m a tough guy, I’ve got a gun,’” said Relford, “but you introduce a gun into an active dispute [and] I don’t think any prosecutor in Indiana is going to look at that and not think this person who responded to that with deadly force was legally justified.”
Despite the intensity of a moment like that Relford explained that according to Indiana law, deadly use of force for personal protection has to stop immediately once the threat of danger has been eliminated. Anything beyond that can be viewed as a criminal in nature.
Weigle is still in critical condition and prosecutors say he could face charges over what happened if and when he recovers.