Robert Keegan testifies in murder trial, closing arguments start Monday

MEDFORD, Ore. – For the first time, we’re hearing from an emotional Robert Keegan, as he took the stand to testify on the fourth day of the trial Friday.

Keegan is charged with multiple crimes, including murder in the 2nd degree, and manslaughter in the first degree in Aidan Ellison’s death.

“When you pulled that trigger, how did you feel,” defense attorney Alyssa Bartholomew said.

“I was in shock and scared,” Keegan said.

He doesn’t deny shooting and killing the 19-year-old Ashland man, outside the Stratford Inn in November 2020.

On Friday, the defense made their case to the jury, laying out how Keegan felt unsafe there.

“I didn’t feel it was 100 percent safe and there was issues that happened around the hotel on a constant basis,” he said.

He recalls two incidents at the hotel, he said someone even pulled a knife on him.

Keegan said that’s one of the reasons he decided to buy a gun on November 11, just 12 days before he shot and killed Ellison.

“Why did you do it then,” Bartholomew said.

“To protect myself and my son,” Keegan said.

Keegan claims Ellison punched him first when they had an altercation in the parking lot, but no one saw and the medical examiner said there’s no physical evidence to show that happened.

The defense asked Keegan about a medical condition with his spine, requiring him to use a cane to walk at times.

“I was scared of becoming paralyzed in the right hip,” Keegan said. “I like I said he stopped for split second and then he just advanced towards me very quickly and charging at me. He kept coming toward me and that’s when I raised the gun up.”

“Did you want to hit him,” Bartholomew said.

“No, I did not,” Keegan said.

“Did you think you hit him,” Bartholomew said.

“I didn’t think so just because he ran off. I thought I scared him, he was running off,” Keegan said.

During cross examination, prosecutors pressed Keegan on what his intent was the morning of the altercation.

Closing arguments will start Monday morning.

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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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