A former Colorado Department of Corrections officer, who shot dead a neighbor over a Fourth of July fireworks dispute in Aurora, has been convicted of second-degree murder.
Scott Alan Mathews Jr., 29, was found guilty Thursday in the 2019 death of 38-year-old Jaharie Wheeler, according to the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office.
Mathews was off duty at the time of the 10:30 p.m. shooting at the Greensview Apartment Complex in the 16400 block of East Alameda Place.
“Bringing a gun to an argument can lead to tragic consequences, and that is the case here,” said District Attorney John Kellner. “The defendant made a horrible decision, and he will pay the consequences. The family of Mr. Wheeler will live with the result of that horrible decision for the rest of their lives.”
The night of the shooting, Mathews returned home from work and along with his girlfriend they went outside to walk their dogs, according to a news release. A confrontation over fireworks with neighbors ensued when Mathews “unholstered his personal handgun, pointed it at Wheeler’s fiancée and headbutted her. Wheeler came into the courtyard to defend his fiancée. As Mathews and Wheeler started to fight, Mathews pulled out his handgun and shot Wheeler in the chest.”
Wheeler, who was unarmed, was pronounced dead at Aurora Medical Center.
The Arapahoe County jury also convicted Mathews of felony menacing with a deadly weapon and assault. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.
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