An Oklahoma City police officer will go to trial for murder.
Sergeant Keith Sweeney is charged with second-degree murder, accused of fatally shooting a suicidal man last year.
An Oklahoma County judge cut Sweeney’s preliminary hearing short on Friday after hearing from one witness. The judge found sufficient probable cause and bound Sweeney over for trial.
Officer Erik Howell recalled for the court the events from November 15, 2017 that led to the officer-involved shooting death of 29-year-old Dustin Pigeon.
“These are very high stress situations,” said David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney. “Where officers are thrown into where someone is killed right in front of them by a fellow officer.”
Pigeon was attempting suicide by dousing himself with lighter fluid and flickering a lighter. Howell testified he and another officer had the situation handled before Sergeant Sweeney arrived and fired his gun five times at Pigeon.
The court including Pigeon’s family, watched body camera footage of the shooting.
“I don’t want to victimize them again, they’ve been victimized enough,” said Prater. “But they chose to stay in the courtroom.”
Sweeney’s attorney objected to the footage being shown to the court.
After the hearing, the defense commented on the only witness to take the stand.
“He was the one witness I did not have as much knowledge on what he would say,” said Gary James, Sweeney’s attorney. “Testimony was tremendous. I knew what all three officers who were in the scene would say. So, I have no qualms about trying it to a jury.”
Sweeney pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge. His next court date is September 19.