Update on Ashland Murder: Suspect Is Pleading Self-Defense – Oregonian 12/1

Man charged in fatal shooting of Black man in Ashland claims self-defense; autopsy shows no injuries from alleged punch

By Noelle Crombie | The Oregonian/OregonLive

The man charged with killing a 19-year-old Black man in a dispute over loud music in Ashland told police he acted in self-defense after the victim punched him in the face, but an autopsy showed no injuries to either man that indicated a physical fight had occurred, according to newly unsealed probable cause affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Robert Keegan, 47, told an Ashland police officer that Aidan Ellison struck him in the face with his fist in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, the affidavit says.https://c42fdba84e7113c6c1a138267842d8fc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Keegan then said he backed up, “racked a round, and shot Ellison in the chest because he was in fear for his personal safety,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit was unsealed Monday by Judge Lorenzo A. Mejia in response to request from The Oregonian/OregonLive.

According to the document, an autopsy showed no injuries to Ellison’s hands “that would have been indicative of him punching Keegan” and Keegan’s face showed no visible sign of injuries.

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.https://c42fdba84e7113c6c1a138267842d8fc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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.

When officers from Ashland and Phoenix arrived, they found Ellison dead with a single gunshot wound to his chest.

Keegan was arrested and taken to Jackson County Jail, officials said.

Keegan on Friday pleaded not guilty to four criminal counts at his arraignment, including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, reckless endangering and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Keegan is being held in custody without bail until his next court date on Feb. 22, officials said.

Both men were staying at the hotel.

— Noelle Crombie; ncrombie@oregonian.com;