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Murder charged dropped against ex-Denver TV station guard

March 21, 2022 GMT
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, Matthew Dolloff, right, turns after fatally shooting another man during dueling protests in Denver. Prosecutors plan to drop a second-degree murder charge against a former television station security guard who shot a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver in 2020. Dolloff's attorney said the Denver District Attorney's Office informed him by phone Thursday, March 10, 2022, that prosecutors would dismiss the charge at a pre-trial hearing March 21. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, Matthew Dolloff, right, turns after fatally shooting another man during dueling protests in Denver. Prosecutors plan to drop a second-degree murder charge against a former television station security guard who shot a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver in 2020. Dolloff's attorney said the Denver District Attorney's Office informed him by phone Thursday, March 10, 2022, that prosecutors would dismiss the charge at a pre-trial hearing March 21. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, Matthew Dolloff, right, turns after fatally shooting another man during dueling protests in Denver. Prosecutors plan to drop a second-degree murder charge against a former television station security guard who shot a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver in 2020. Dolloff's attorney said the Denver District Attorney's Office informed him by phone Thursday, March 10, 2022, that prosecutors would dismiss the charge at a pre-trial hearing March 21. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, Matthew Dolloff, right, turns after fatally shooting another man during dueling protests in Denver. Prosecutors plan to drop a second-degree murder charge against a former television station security guard who shot a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver in 2020. Dolloff's attorney said the Denver District Attorney's Office informed him by phone Thursday, March 10, 2022, that prosecutors would dismiss the charge at a pre-trial hearing March 21. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, Matthew Dolloff, right, turns after fatally shooting another man during dueling protests in Denver. Prosecutors plan to drop a second-degree murder charge against a former television station security guard who shot a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver in 2020. Dolloff's attorney said the Denver District Attorney's Office informed him by phone Thursday, March 10, 2022, that prosecutors would dismiss the charge at a pre-trial hearing March 21. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — A judge has granted a request by prosecutors to drop a second-degree murder charge against a former television station security guard who shot and killed a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver in 2020.

The Denver Post reports that District Judge Brian Whitney granted the request on Monday to drop the charge against 32-year-old Matthew Dolloff. Dolloff had pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of 49-year-old Lee Keltner during a confrontation after a “Patriot Muster” demonstration and another by left-leaning counter-protesters.

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Keltner had participated in the “Patriot Muster” rally before he was slain. Dolloff’s attorneys argued he shot Keltner in self-defense. Dolloff had been hired by KUSA-TV to protect a producer covering the Oct. 10, 2020 protests.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann’s office had confirmed this month that she planned to dismiss the charge because prosecutors could not refute beyond a reasonable doubt his claim that he fired in self-defense.

During their confrontation, Keltner slapped Dolloff in the head and Dolloff shot Keltner with a handgun as Keltner fired pepper spray at him, according to an arrest affidavit.

Lee Keltner’s sister, 48-year-old Suzan Keltner, and supporters protested the outcome outside the courthouse Monday.