*A former NASA employee and ex-cop has been found guilty of the 2020 killing of his mixed-race neighbor.
Michael Hetle, 52, is accused of fatally shooting 24-year-old Javon Prather on March 3, 2020 in Springfield, Va. Prather was standing on Hetle’s front porch at the time of the shooing, and the killing was captured on Hetle’s Ring doorbell camera. Apparently, the two men had a dispute earlier in the day and Hetle’s attorney claims the shooting was in self-defense.
Prather collapsed in Hetle’s driveway after being shot. Hetle then threatened Prather’s wife, saying to her “You want it, too?”
She is reportedly seen on camera dragging Prather’s body away.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said Prather was “executed” by Hetle.
Michael Hetle, 54, believed that authorities had not been responsive enough to his complaints about noise and trash he said were coming from 24-year-old Javon Prather’s home. So, last March, after arguing with Prather, Hetle shot him dead https://t.co/9aR9Kmu6Yj
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 16, 2021
“Evidence submitted during the trial revealed that racial animus was a contributing factor in Mr. Hetle’s actions,” he said.
Here’s more from PEOPLE:
Prosecutors alleged that the shooting occurred after Hetle had become bitter over the homeowner’s association and police’s refusal to act on his complaints about Prather, who served in the Maryland National Guard, and his wife, which included loud music and drinking, The Washington Post reports. Hetle’s attorney, George L. Freeman IV, said Hetle believed that Prather was armed when he showed up on his doorstep and shot him in self-defense.
“Mr. Hetle did not commit a murder,” Freeman said. “He was defending himself and his family.”
On the day of the shooting, Hetle sent an email to the homeowners association warning that the feud between him and Prather could “result in tragedy.”
During the trial, Hetle’s son testified that when his father spoke about Prather he used a racial epithet.
Hetle is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 28.