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Federal trial begins Monday in killing of McHenry County deputy

A funeral service for McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner is held at Woodstock North High School on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Inset of Floyd E. Brown, who is charged with killing Keltner and attempting to kill another three other members of the Marshals Service task force.

The federal trial of a Springfield man accused of fatally shooting a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy on March 7, 2019, as he was serving an arrest warrant at a Rockford hotel is set to begin Monday.

Floyd E. Brown, 44, is charged with “unlawfully, willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation” killing Deputy Jacob Keltner while he was part of a special team serving a warrant in his capacity as a special deputy U.S. marshal, according to a superseding indictment filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois’s Western Division.

Brown also is charged with the attempted killing of another deputy U.S. marshal and two special U.S. marshals and “intentionally and forcibly” assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating and interfering with Keltner’s and the three other marshals’ official duties while using a “deadly and dangerous weapon.”

He also faces weapons charges, including being a felon in possession firearms. He had two pistols and two rifles, all loaded and with their serial numbers removed, according to the indictment. He used one of the rifles to shoot at three marshals and kill Keltner, according to the indictment.

A program is tucked inside an officer's hat. Funeral services for McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner is held at Woodstock North High School on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

Federal authorities found the weapons as well as about a thousand rounds of ammunition and 88 rifle cartridges, according to the indictment.

If convicted of any of the federal counts related to Keltner’s death, Brown faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. The weapons and ammunition found would also be forfeited if convicted.

Brown also faces separate first-degree murder charges in Winnebago County stemming from Keltner’s death.

Keltner, 35, married father of two sons, had spent five years as a member of the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force and nearly 13 years with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. His sons are now in second and fourth grade in Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47.

On the day he was killed, Keltner was part of a task force team serving arrest warrants for Brown at a Rockford hotel. Warrants for Brown’s arrest had been issued out of McLean, Champaign and Sangamon counties, as well as by the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The team arrived at the Extended Stay America in Rockford at about 9:15 a.m. and attempted to serve Brown the arrest warrant. Investigators at the time said that is when Brown shot through the hotel door, jumped out of the third-story window shooting, when he shot Keltner. Brown fled, leading police on a high-speed chase, authorities said.

He was arrested after an hours-long standoff on the side of a downstate highway. A report from a 2011 bond hearing in Macon County said Brown previously had made remarks about shooting police.

Keltner died at about 3:30 p.m. that day, authorities have said.

After getting word Keltner had been shot, his family was in disbelief, his wife, Becki Keltner, told the Northwest Herald in 2019, about five months after his death.

“He was so safe and good at his job,” she said at the time. “I just thought ‘He’s gonna be fine … whatever it is, he’s gonna be fine.’”

Blood transfusions kept Keltner alive long enough that his family had the chance to say goodbye, his father Howard Keltner said earlier this year during the third annual blood drive held in Keltner’s memory by his wife.

The family declined to comment leading up to the trial, which is being held in the federal courthouse in Rockford.

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks. Jury selection is set to begin Monday morning.