The state’s attorney announced his office has dismissed local charges against a man convicted in federal court for shooting and killing McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner in 2019 in Rockford.
Floyd E. Brown, 43, of Springfield, went on trial in March after he was federally 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.
Brown faced up to life in prison. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced him to 55 years in federal prison in August.
“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.
The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office announced on Friday that they were dismissing the pending local charges against Brown based upon his conviction and sentence in federal court.
The state’s attorney charged Brown with multiple local charges including murder of a peace officer.
There is no pending appeal of the trial or the sentencing, meaning the federal sentence is final, the state’s attorney’s office said.
“There are legal and practical considerations that weigh against a State prosecution. Further, this difficult decision accounts for the toll a second prosecution would take on the Keltner family,” State’s Attorney J. Hanley said.
During Brown’s trial, Special Agent Jeremy Smith testified to the jury 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.”
“For nearly three years, we have patiently waited for the day that Deputy Jacob Keltner’s killer would be held accountable for the crimes he committed,” McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said in a statement following the guilty verdict last year.
“Today, we also realized that no verdict can bring Jake back, and justice doesn’t always appear how we picture. But, we are hopeful that it will allow the Keltner family the chance to close a chapter in their lives and take the next steps in healing,” Prim said.
“Jake is, and will always be, a hero. Please keep the Keltner family in your thoughts as they continue to live with this unthinkable loss,” he added.
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.