DENVER — The defense team representing the unlicensed security guard charged with second-degree murder following a deadly shooting at dueling rallies last fall can access the photos and videos taken by the victim the day of the incident.
This ruling was made by Denver District Court Judge Michael Mullins during a motions hearing on Friday morning. He also ruled that while the photos and videos the day of the shooting could be relevant evidence, other communications made by the victim prior to this are not.
Matthew Dolloff, 31, is out on bond following the shooting death of Lee Keltner, 49. Dolloff’s attorneys have previously said he was acting in self-defense when he shot 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."
> The video above is from an October 2020 9NEWS report about the charges against Dolloff.
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.
During Friday’s hearing, Dolloff’s Attorney Doug Richards alleged that Keltner had told the unlicensed security guard, “I’m going to [expletive] you up” and struck him in the face with his left hand while he was wearing “large rings on his hand that were commonly used as brass knuckles.”
Richards also claimed that Keltner had been seen in photographs with a member of the motorcycle gang the Sons of Silence minutes before the shooting, and was carrying a gun in a shoulder holster.
“Keltner’s violent and right-wing domestic violence beliefs are relevant for the jury’s consideration because his character trait for violence is relevant to Mr. Dolloff’s claim for self-defense,” Richards told the judge.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Zach McCabe called the defense’s efforts to obtain Keltner’s phone a “pure fishing expedition.”
“The victim does have a privacy interest in his phone,” he said. “It’s not a secret what type of rally this was. The defense has already done internet research on the victim, the defense wants to get in on all of that.”
Richards also alleged that Keltner had been filming and taking videos on his cellphone just prior to the shooting.
Mullins agreed with the prosecution's argument that Keltner’s past was irrelevant since it’s not something Dolloff would have known. However, he did say that the photos and videos of the day of the rally itself could be used by the defense.
“Anything on the day that led up to this occurring at this event could potentially have exculpatory evidence in this, and I don’t think the prosecution should be the person necessarily to screen those things out, so I think as far as I’m concerned, anything surrounding that event where this alleged crime occurred could lead to exculpatory evidence, and it’s the responsibility of the prosecution to provide that,” Mullins said.
The district attorney's office and the lawyers representing Keltner's family declined to comment on Friday's proceedings. 9Wants to Know reached out to Richards for comment and as of this writing as not received a response.
Following multiple delays, Dolloff is expected to next appear in court for an arraignment on May 28. During this appearance, he will enter a plea.
Dolloff had previously waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is out on a $500,000 bond.
The court previously agreed to drop the requirement that Dolloff wear a GPS monitor as a part of his bond, something the prosecution had argued against, saying that the family of the victim had asked that he be monitored by the courts.
Dolloff's defense team said that the GPS monitor had become a hindrance to working his two jobs, and that he wasn't a flight risk or continued threat to the community.
At the time of the shooting, he had been contracted by Pinkerton from the company Isborn Security Services. Pinkerton said it was unaware that Dolloff did not have a license to work as a security guard in Denver.
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.”
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Local stories from 9NEWS