The father of McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner, who was shot and killed in 2019, said that his son’s killer should have been sentenced to life, not 55 years.
A federal trial took place in late March for Floyd E. Brown, 43, of Springfield, who was charged with multiple felonies for shooting Keltner, 35.
Brown was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder of a government officer, two counts of assaulting or impeding a federal officer, unlawful transport of firearms, possession of defaced firearms, firearm possession in furtherance of violent crime where death occurs and firearm possession in furtherance of violent crime.
A jury found Brown guilty of all charges except for first-degree murder, which is considered premeditated murder.
The jury, however, found Brown guilty of second-degree murder, which is considered murder that is not premeditated.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced him to 55 years in federal prison on Monday. Brown faced up to life in prison.
“Through the violent actions of Floyd Brown, the Keltner family lost a devoted son, husband and father, and the citizens of the Northern District of Illinois lost a dedicated public servant,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch said.
“Special Deputy Keltner made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation. His bravery and dedication will not be forgotten. We remain committed to prosecuting violence against federal law enforcement officers to the fullest extent of the law,” Lausch added.
Keltner’s father, Howard, spoke to reporters after the sentencing hearing.
“My son is in the ground for the rest of eternity, and I won’t see him now until I go,” Howard Keltner said, according to WIFR.
“I don’t think the judge was right. I feel like the judge slapped my son right in the face,” he added.
Howard Keltner said he was angry when he heard the sentence, which he thought should have been life, WIFR reported. He said that the time spent in prison will never be enough to repair the loss of his son.
Becki Keltner, Jacob’s wife, said in a victim impact statement that Brown stole her life from her and their kids.
During the trial, Special Agent Jeremy Smith testified that he examined the history on a laptop believed to belong to Brown and found multiple web searches beginning on January 5, 2019, the Rockford Register Star reported.
One search was “cop get ambushed,” which showed links to videos and news articles about officers being shot.
Another search on the laptop was “U.S. Marshal shot,” which showed a video titled, “Moments after a U.S. Marshal was shot and killed while serving felony warrant,” Smith testified.
A third search performed on Bing on the laptop was, “Can a bulletproof vest stop a 223 round.”
Smith also testified that there were similar searches also found on a Samsung phone.
The Rockford Register Star also reported that prosecutors played a series of videos in court found on the Samsung phone.
“I’ve got so much hatred for these motherf—–s,” Brown said in one of the videos. In a second clip, he said he would make the police “famous.”
Keltner, who was a sheriff’s deputy in McHenry County, also worked as a Special Deputy for the U.S. Marshal Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.
The task force on March 7, 2019, was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Brown, who was staying at the Extended Stay America Hotel in Rockford.
Brown had been staying at the hotel to avoid apprehension on outstanding warrants that he had for residential burglary.
When the task force knocked on the front door of the third-floor room where Brown was staying, he opened fire on the officers with a high-powered rifle.
Prosecutors said Brown fired ten shots through the door and nearby walls, narrowly missing a deputy U.S. Marshal and two special deputy U.S. Marshals.
Brown then jumped out of a window and fired a shot that fatally struck Keltner, who was covering the exterior of the hotel.
Brown’s girlfriend, who was in the hotel room with him, was shot when Brown opened fire, police said.
Keltner was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Brown fled the scene in a vehicle and led Illinois State Police and other agencies on a 150-mile pursuit.
Pursuit speed reached over 100 mph until Brown’s vehicle came to a stop on Interstate 55 near Lincoln, Illinois when he ran over spike strips.
A grand jury indictment said that Brown used a Romarm WASR-10 rifle to shoot and kill Keltner.
Police also recovered two 9mm pistols and a .223 caliber rifle in Brown’s possession.
All four guns had their serial numbers removed, the indictment said. Police seized over 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Brown at the time of his arrest.
Keltner, who had almost 13 years of service with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, left behind his wife and two young children.