(CBS4) – An Arapahoe County jury this week found a former Colorado prison guard guilty of shooting and killing his neighbor while the two were fighting in 2019. Scott Mathews, of Aurora, fatally shot 38-year-old Jaharie Wheeler on the 4th of July while Wheeler’s fiance and two children were watching.

Scott Mathews (credit: Aurora Police)

The fight started after Mathews and his girlfriend came out of their apartment complex with their dog. Some neighbors were setting off fireworks and Mathews and the girlfriend confronted the neighbors with concerns about their dog being frightened. Mathews unholstered a gun and pointed it at Wheeler’s fiance and then headbutted her.

Wheeler came in to defend her and pushed and punched Mathews before Mathews took out his gun and shot him once in the chest, killing him.

“After what started as an argument over fireworks, (Wheeler) was killed in front of his fiancé and children for standing up to defend them,” Assistant District Attorney Tom Byrnes said in a prepared statement.

Mathews was convicted Thursday on a second-degree murder charge as well as several other charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.

“The defendant made a horrible decision, and he will pay the consequences. The family of (Wheeler) will live with the result of that horrible decision for the rest of their lives,” said District Attorney John Kellner in a prepared statement.

Mathews worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections officer for over 3 years but was fired after the shooting.

Jesse Sarles