COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus man was acquitted on Friday in connection to a shooting last year that left one man dead.
Robert Thomas, 73, was found not guilty on Friday of involuntary manslaughter after confronting his neighbors while armed in June of 2021, according to Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Tyack. However, Thomas was found guilty of aggravated menacing.
Thomas approached his neighbor’s granddaughter and her husband, 43-year-old Jason Keys, in the 2000 block of Walnut Hill Park Drive on June 20, 2021, when the couple had been leaving the house after a Father’s Day brunch. Thomas claimed Keys had been letting the air out of his tires and pouring herbicide on his lawn, despite having no evidence.
Tyack said Thomas pulled out an assault rifle and was loading a clip into the weapon when Keys grabbed the clip from Thomas. Keys’ in-laws came out and helped disarm Thomas who then fell to the ground.
Another neighbor, Elias Smith, armed himself with an assault rifle after hearing the situation. Smith opened his front door and shot and killed Keys. Tyack said Smith told police he fired his weapon because Keys was holding the clip.
Thomas’ bond was revoked and a sentencing hearing will be held at a later date, Tyack said.
Smith is indicted on murder charges and his case is set for trial on Dec. 5.