LONE TREE, Colo. — For the victim's family, court is where they look for justice. But, for the family of Kelly Jo Kiess, that will not happen.

"We don't see cases like this very often," said George Brauchler, District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District.

Brauchler said when Kiess was shot in the face and killed on Oct. 18, the situation inside her Lone Tree apartment building was not that simple.

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"Were there other alternative decisions that everybody associated with this case could have made that would have resulted in no bullets being fired and no lives lost? Absolutely," Brauchler said.

Investigators said 45-year-old Justin Chaney was Kiess' neighbor and noticed that a man she used to date snuck in the building behind him. 

When Chaney confronted that man, police said the man struck Chaney in the face, and then Chaney pulled a gun on him. When Kiess saw the confrontation in the hallway, investigators said she got her own gun.

"[She] put the gun directly into Mr. Chaney's face," said Gary Dawson, chief deputy district attorney.

Deputies said Kiess lowered her gun, and that's when she was shot. Chaney claimed self-defense. Dawson agreed.

"To be clear, it's a crime," Dawson said. "But, in essence, we've determined a complete defense to that crime."

In court, all charges were dropped. Mike Kiess, Kelly Jo Kiess' father, said he was dismayed.

"As a father, it's very tough to go through and lose your daughter, especially at 24 years old, especially the way she died," Mike Kiess said.

Brauchler said he understands his frustration.

"What do you tell someone whose daughter was shot and killed?" Brauchler said. "And, I'm here to tell you that having looked at what I have in this case, I don't know she did anything wrong."

Now, a father has lost one of his three daughters.

"She was loud, but had a huge heart," Mike Kiess said. "She really was the person that wanted to fight for the underdog."

"I voted for George Brauchler, more than once, but if that's the kind of man that only when it's 100% slam dunk," he added. "You tell me how that makes sense to anybody."

Brauchler said it was his duty to drop the charges in this case.

"This one, under the laws we have in the state of Colorado was one that I did not feel we can rightfully and successfully prosecute," Brauchler said.

Chaney goes home a free man. He did not want to comment. Mike Kiess goes home without the one thing he was looking for.

"There's no justice here," Kiess said.
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