Prosecutor says deadly force not justified in Penn Borough shooting

Sept. 22 – A Penn Borough man told a Westmoreland County jury on Wednesday that he was shot in the chest by his landlord last summer.

Nathan Booher, 26, said he was unarmed on August 28, 2021 when he entered the house he had lived in for the previous three years with his mother’s boyfriend and he was shot after refusing to leave the residence.

Michael Keslar, 45, of Penn Borough, is on trial for attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

“I don’t remember what Mike Keslar said, but he pulled out a gun and fired warning shots as I stood by the front door,” Booher said during the premiere. day of the trial before Judge Tim Krieger of the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.

Booher testified that he paid Keslar $200 every two weeks to live in the house.

The prosecution argues there is no justification for Keslar to use lethal force, according to Assistant District Attorney Jackie Knupp.

Tim Andrews, Keslar’s defense attorney, told jurors his client acted in self-defense and believed Booher intended to harm him after the two men fought earlier in at night while drinking at the Penn Rod and Gun Club.

Booher testified that he was originally armed when he and Keslar went to the bar to witness a shooting earlier in the day, but had no weapon when he was shot.

He said he complied with Keslar’s request later that day to give him the gun as the pair continued to drink at the club before a disagreement between the men ended the evening .

Booher told jurors he drove to his mother’s home several blocks away, asked for her gun, and when she refused, he punched through a window of her vehicle.

“I remember being angry that night,” Booher said. He later told jurors, “I went back to Michael Keslar’s, sat outside and tried to calm myself down.”

Prosecutors say Booher’s mother sent a series of text messages to Keslar about the altercation that included an allegation that her son intended to kill her boyfriend.

Booher testified that he typed in a code on an electronic keypad, to enter the front door of the house and was greeted by a Keslar armed with a gun.

Booher was hospitalized for 41 days after the shooting and underwent multiple surgeries, he testified.

The trial will continue on Thursday.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich by email at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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