A man who walked Main St. with a shotgun strapped to his back during a lunch hour in January was acquitted of a disorderly conduct charge Wednesday by a county court jury.
Twenty-seven-year-old Michael Keoughan of Midland was found not guilty of the misdemeanor charge—which carried a maximum six months jail time—by the six person jury during a day-long trial presided over by Andrews County Judge Richard Dolgener.
The disorderly conduct charge involved “intentionally or knowingly displaying a firearm in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.”
Defense attorney Edwin Walker of Houston emphasized Keoughan was lawful in open carrying in the areas of Main St. he walked that day and argued that the statute’s language entails the firearm being displayed a certain way to alarm, rather than concerned reactions from startled residents who simply witnessed Keoughan.
The attorney said there was no evidence of Keoughan ever grabbing, touching or pointing the firearm—it was merely strapped to his back in a safe manner—throughout the course of his trek.
“This is a crime of action, not reaction,” Walker told jurors concerning the statute’s language.

For the complete story, see the Sept. 7 Andrews County News, now on newsstands. Or click here to log in to our e-edition.