Springfield man accused of killing neighbor found guilty of first-degree murder

The case of a Springfield man accused of killing his neighbor is now closed after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

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Michael Hetle, a former NASA employee, was hoping to convince the courtroom that he shot a Maryland National Guardsman in self-defense. However, the jury decided to charge him with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Six months before the deadly shooting, 24-year-old Javon Prather can be seen in new video evidence obtained by FOX 5 driving by Hetle's home, cursing at him.

Police arrive later on and Prather shouts at officers from his front door.

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In March 2020 when the shooting took place, video shows Prather walk over to Hetle's home. The defendant claims his neighbor was banging on the door so violently, it swung open.

Hetle's own Ring doorbell camera shows him coming outside with no words and a burst of gunfire.

Seven shots went off in six seconds, four shots at point-blank range, two in the back as Prather tumbles down the stairs and a final shot as Prather lays in the driveway.


Hetle proceeds to yell at Prather's wife as she tries to find out what happened before dragging her dying husband to their yard.

Hetle claims he shot and killed Prather because he was worried for his family's safety.