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Unlicensed security guard charged in deadly protest shooting pleads not guilty

Matthew Dolloff is charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Lee Keltner at two dueling Denver rallies on Oct. 10, 2020.

DENVER — Matthew Dolloff, the unlicensed security guard charged with second-degree murder for a deadly shooting at dueling rallies in downtown Denver, has pleaded not guilty and asked for the case to go to trial. 

He had previously waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is out on a $500,000 bond. His arraignment had been delayed several times before, but he finally entered a plea on Friday morning. 

He is slated to appear in court again on Aug. 2 for a disposition and on Aug. 6 for a motions hearing during which they'll set a trial date for within six months. 

RELATED: Arraignment pushed back for unlicensed security guard accused in deadly shooting

Dolloff's attorneys have previously said he had been acting in self-defense when he shot 49-year-old Lee Keltner outside the Denver Art Museum at the tail-end of two dueling rallies on Oct. 10.

The demonstrations included members of Black Lives Matter as well as people attending what they had dubbed a "Patriot Muster."

Dolloff was contracted through the company Pinkerton by 9NEWS. It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests.

Pinkerton had used Isborn Security Services to contract Dolloff, and told the Denver Department of Excise and Licensing it was unaware that he did not have a license to work as a security guard in Denver.

RELATED: Excise department recommends Pinkerton license suspension in unlicensed security guard shooting case

Isborn Security Services agreed to surrender its license to operate in Denver, and a hearing officer for the excise department has recommended that Pinkerton's license be suspended for six months. A final decision has not yet been made.

Keltner, a Navy veteran, worked as a hatter and was also a part of Colorado’s motorcycle community. The Biker Down Charity started a fundraiser for his family, describing him as a husband, father and friend to many.

9NEWS management released the following statement about the incident on Oct. 12:

“9NEWS continues to cooperate fully with law enforcement and is deeply saddened by this loss of life.

“For the past few months, it has been the practice of 9NEWS to contract private security, through an outside firm, to accompany our personnel covering protests. Pinkerton, the private security firm, is responsible for ensuring its guards or those it contracts with are appropriately licensed. 9NEWS does not contract directly with individual security personnel.”

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