Dwight Key Innocent of First Degree Murder Charge


Dwight Key was found not guilty of murdering Jessie Lee Owens more than two years ago, today at the McDowell County Courthouse.

Police accused Key of shooting Owens in the face at least two times. The incident happened back in September of 2013 in the Lick Branch area of Iaeger.

But Keith Flinchum, defense attorney, says Owens approached Key with a knife, and that was reason enough to pull the trigger on Owens. 

“Well it’s an innocent man,” Flinchum tells 59News. “Mr. Key did what he had to do to defend himself. He had a right to use what force is necessary to defend yourself, and that’s what he was forced to do.”

Jason Grubb, McDowell County assistant prosecuting attorney, says he was shocked the jury found Key innocent. But he tells 59News it’s not the prosecutor’s job to find verdicts. 

“We put forth what we thought was our best case, and didn’t hide anything,” Grubb says. “We didn’t pull any punches, we put forth what the evidence was and it’s up to the 12 members of the jury to reach the conclusion. And we’re confident in that conclusion whether we agree with it or not from a legal standpoint.” 

Key had been on home confinement since his indictment last February. The prosecuting attorney cannot appeal the verdict. 

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