Charges dismissed against Lake Co. man accused of killing man - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Charges dismissed against Lake Co. man accused of killing man

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POLSON - A Lake County man will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a Pablo man that happened in September.

Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher says Ryan Black, 28, will not be charged with the death of 34-year-old Johnny McKeever. The shooting happened Sept. 16  around 4:30 a.m. at Black’s house.

Authorities state in court documents that McKeever came to Black’s resident to confront McKeever’s estranged wife and added McKeever knew his wife was involved in an extramarital relationship with Black.

Authorities also state in court documents that McKeever banged on the door waking up Black. Black came to the door with a .44 Magnum pistol and confronted McKeever. McKeever struck Black in his right eye but did not have any other weapons.

Black told authorities that he fell backward and then the gun went off, striking McKeever. According to Eschenbacher’s report, the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing of McKeever was unjustified. 

Eschenbacher said the standard of proof under the laws applicable in this instance creates a high barrier to criminal prosecution. 

Eschenbacher says he has an ethical obligation not to file charges that he does not believe are supported by probable cause or have a reasonable likelihood of resulting in a conviction.

The current charges against Black are being dismissed without prejudice and may be revisited if new evidence would change the county attorney’s opinion. 

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