The unlicensed security accused in the killing of a man after dueling rallies last weekend in Civic Center park will be charged Monday with second-degree murder, authorities said Thursday.
Matthew Dolloff, 30, was arrested in the fatal shooting Saturday of 49-year-old Lee Keltner.
According to a news release, the charge carries a mandatory sentence of 16 to 48 years.
Dolloff was acting as a private security guard for Denver Gazette news partner 9News at the rallies, the company confirmed the day of the shooting, and was contracted through Pinkerton. Management for the station released a statement Tuesday saying no one at the company was aware Dolloff was armed.
The Denver Gazette found Dolloff does not hold a license to work as a private security guard in Denver.
An unidentified 9News producer was also detained immediately following the shooting, but was released Saturday and is not a suspect in the incident.
Pinkerton said in an earlier statement it does not employ Dolloff, who is a “contractor from a long-standing industry vendor.” Pinkerton did not name the vendor.
Stan Garnett, Boulder district attorney until 2018, said a charge of second-degree murder is often used when a person made a split-second decision.
Garnett said the difference between murder in the first and second degree is nuanced, but crucial: first-degree murder requires intent to kill, while second-degree murder means the defendant didn't intend to kill the victim, but probably knew the action they took would kill someone.
He said the decision to charge Dolloff with second-degree homicide doesn't surprise him.
“It would be very tough (to prove) in this very quick environment that he had deliberation and he intended to kill," Garnett said.
On Tuesday, Denver police released a probable cause statement for Dolloff's arrest.
The affidavit says Keltner and another man, whose name is redacted, had a verbal confrontation as Keltner and others left a “Patriot Muster” rally through the courtyard between the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Public Library.
A third man, whose name also was redacted, put himself between the two men in an attempt to break up the dispute.
Dolloff and an unidentified person then got involved in a confrontation with Keltner and another person, whose name is redacted.
According to the affidavit, video footage and still images show Keltner striking Dolloff in the side of the head. Dolloff then drew his handgun from his waistband and shot Keltner once as Keltner pepper-sprayed Dolloff, according to the affidavit.
Keltner owned Crossfire Hats in Brighton, according to a 2015 Denver Post business profile.
Saturday afternoon’s rallies were held by opposing groups.
The Patriot Muster rally was organized by former Marine John “Tig” Tiegen, of El Paso County. Tiegen, a survivor of the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is affiliated with President Donald Trump's campaign in Colorado.
The other event billed itself as a “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive,” and organizers said they showed up in opposition to the Patriot Muster rally.
The Elbert County sheriff has confirmed that Dolloff’s concealed carry permit was revoked Monday pending the criminal investigation.