A Johnson County resident who shot his neighbor four times in the chest was acting in self defense and will not face criminal charges, the prosecutor has decided.
The incident between the residents of the two homes on Campbell Road east of Greenwood the evening of June 27 was captured on video, according to a news release from the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Dean Keller, 49, shot Jeffrey Weigle, 59, as the men were in their neighboring yards. The two have been feuding since at least 2009 over fences, animals and other issues, according to reports from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
Both men fired shots. Weigle pulled out his gun first; Keller fired first. Keller was not struck.
Weigle remained in critical condition on Wednesday.
Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper ruled Keller’s actions were justifiable and determined that Keller will not face any criminal charges. He said he has not made a decision on what, if any, charges Weigle will face if he recovers.
State law says that a person is justified in using deadly force and does not have to retreat if the person believes that the force is necessary to prevent serious injury.
The footage showed that Weigle approached the fence along Keller’s property line as Keller and his wife were working in the yard, the prosecutor’s office said.
Weigle called Keller a name, adjusted part of the fence, and continued to use derogatory names towards the Kellers. Weigle rode away from the area on his riding lawnmower, and Keller went to check the fence, the prosecutor’s office said.
Weigle drove back to Keller and drew a handgun from his pocket and waived it at Keller, according to a summary of the incident from the prosecutor’s office.
Keller drew his handgun and fired at Weigle, hitting him four times in the chest, the summary said. Weigle began firing at Keller as Keller ran away. Keller’s wife called 911.
Nancy Phillips, who owns the home where Weigle lives, said that Weigle used her gun, which he must have taken from her room without her permission, the prosecutor’s office report said.
Given the aggression shown by Weigle, including the name calling, driving towards Keller on the riding mower, drawing and waving the gun, “it was reasonable for Keller to believe deadly force was necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to himself and/or his wife, who was standing nearby,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Weigle was unable to speak to police after the shooting due to his injuries, and the Kellers hired an attorney, who said the shooting was justifiable.