Last week The Root reported that 47-year-old Robert Keegan was arrested and charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Aidan Ellison on Nov. 23 in Ashland, Oregon. The shooting, which occurred in the parking lot of Stratford Inn, where they were both staying, allegedly followed a heated exchange between the two over Ellison playing loud music, according to Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara. On Friday, Keegan pleaded not guilty and told investigators he acted out of self-defense after Ellison punched him in the face. But medical examiners found no evidence of a physical fight between the two men prior to the shot being fired.
The Oregonian reports that a probable cause affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court confirms that an autopsy showed no injuries to Ellison’s hands “that would have been indicative of him punching Keegan” and no physical injuries to Keegan’s face were found either.
According to the affidavit, Keegan claimed that after Ellison punched him, he backed up, “racked a round, and shot Ellison in the chest because he was in fear for his personal safety.”
From the Oregonian:
The encounter began about 4 a.m. in the parking lot of the Stratford Inn in the downtown area of Ashland. Keegan was awakened by loud music in the parking lot and he asked Ellison to turn it down, a request Ellison refused, according to the court record.
Keegan got dressed “and collected his gun” and went to the hotel reception to complain to an employee, Angel Carlin, the affidavit states. Carlin went to the parking lot to talk to Ellison and while the two were talking, Keegan approached and “confronted Ellison,” the document says. Keegan and Ellison argued.
About 4:33 a.m., a half-hour after the initial confrontation began, Keegan removed a 9mm handgun from his jacket and fired into Ellison’s chest, piercing his heart and lungs and killing him, the affidavit says.
O’Meara told NBC 5 last week that it hasn’t been determined yet whether race played a part in the shooting, but the investigation is still ongoing.
“That’s a very legitimate and important thing for us to look at,” he said. “Right now, we can’t substantiate that race was a factor. If that changes at some point then some different charges can be considered. So yes, could it have been a factor, of course. But without having the benefit of knowing what Keegan is thinking we can’t substantiate it.”
As we previously reported, Keegan is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, reckless endangering and unlawful possession of a weapon. He’s being held in the Jackson County Jail without bail until his next court date on Feb. 22, 2021.