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Don Kleine stands by his decision not to charge Jake Gardner

Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 08:30:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Wednesday, following a press conference from the special prosecutor in the Jacob Gardner case, Douglas County prosecutor Don Kleine reiterated that he still stands by his original decision to not press charges.

Kleine says he didn't hear anything new from special prosecutor Fred Franklin that changed his opinion on whether Gardner was acting in self-defense on the night of May 30th.

Franklin brought up some phone evidence, specifically a comment made about "field of fire."

Kleine was aware of this, stating that message was sent to Gardner from another individual and had nothing to do with the altercation outside the bar.

Franklin referenced a tweet from President Trump reading, “Once the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Kleine says Franklin's attempt to make a correlation between Gardener’s support for Trump and a tweet is not evidence, adding it's speculation.

There is a lot of conversation about who was the first aggressor on the night of the shooting.

READ MORE: Special prosecutor issues details in Jacob Gardner case

Kleine says there is some information that could indicate what state of mind Scurlock was in the night he was shot.

"James Scurlock was committing a felony,” said Kleine. “He broke into a building, tore property up, broke out the windows there. Immediately prior to where he went to the Hive. He had previously been involved with his child's mother where he broke into a house and beat her. Her comment to the police was that his violence was escalating."

Franklin mentioned an exchange about “light em’ up” involving Gardner.

Kleine had no idea where that comment came from.

Kleine says he respectfully disagrees with Franklin's opinion, adding he questions the way evidence was presented to the grand jury.

Gardner's lawyers, Stu Dornan and Tom Monaghan sent out a statement today:

“The statements made by special prosecutor Franklin did not change our belief in our client's innocence or the belief that he never should have been charged and Don Kleine shares that view. There was no new credible or relevant evidence provided by Mr. Franklin today that Mr. Gardner's state of mind was to harm anyone. The hope for the healing of our community is most paramount as we move forward. Our statements from Sunday stand.”

People gathered in the Old Market on Wednesday near Gardner's former business where Scurlock was shot. See video below.

Protesters Gathered Near Jacob Gardner's Business
Family friends and community members mourn Scurlock, Gardner