Prosecutors react after Keegan’s sentencing in killing of Aidan Ellison

MEDFORD, Ore. – This case has been on the minds of many in the Rogue Valley since the fatal shooting in November 2020.

Friday an emotional Robert Keegan was sentenced after his week long trial.

“There’s nothing more that I can say but I‘m sorry…” Keegan said.

Keegan is sentenced to 10 years in prison for the shooting death of Ashland man Aidan Ellison.

On Monday, he was found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree by a jury.

He will also serve consecutive one-year sentences, after being convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering another person.

Prosecutors believe Keegan should have been convicted of murder, but accepted the jury’s decision.

“Obviously we’re disappointed and I feel sympathy for the victim’s family,” Deputy DA Benjamin Lull said. “And I know that they were disappointed in the verdict as well.” 

Lull said he was happy with the sentence and believes Keegan got the maximum based on the verdict 

Keegan never denied shooting and killing 19-year-old Ellison outside the ‘Stratford Inn’ in November 2020.

The unarmed black man’s death coming months after George Floyd’s murder sparked outrage in the Rogue Valley.

Ashland police brought in the FBI to investigate whether race played a role in this shooting.

They found no evidence of racial bias.

Ellison’s mother was not in the courtroom Friday, but it was packed with people.

Judge Timothy Barnack addressed that before the sentencing.

“I think if we all try to listen to each other and have a little more grace and kindness I think that would go a long way towards alleviating a lot of this anger,” he said. “Because you can see where anger ends up and it ends up with all of us here.”

Judge Barnack said he received letters about the case, but added public opinion would not affect his decision on the sentence.

Race was only brought up a few times in the trial, as there was no hate crime or racial bias charges against Keegan.

“If there had been enough evidence for us to prove that he was motivated and proof without a reasonable doubt that he was motivated by bias, race we would have proceeded with that,” Lull said. “We didn’t have that evidence here.”

Defense attorneys declined to comment after the sentencing.

The DA‘s office said there was a plea deal on the table for murder, but added the defense did not like the offer.

That runs counter to what the defense told us earlier this week.

They said they wished a plea deal had been offered.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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