Jury Finds Mitchell Woman Guilty of Spitting on Officers, Firearm Charges Dropped to Misdemeanor

(BEDFORD) – On Wednesday night a Lawrence County Superior Court I jury found Anita Keller guilty of spitting on two officers during an incident on April 1.

Judge John Plummer III presided over the trial.

It didn’t take long for the jury to come back with a verdict, according to court personnel. Finding her guilty on two Level 6 felony charges of battery on a police officer by bodily fluid.

Anita Keller

According to court documents, on April 1, 2019 Keller, in a rude and insolent and angry manner, spit on Officer Ross Johns and Officer Debbie Porter.

On Wednesday, Keller pleaded guilty in a negotiated plea deal to criminal recklessness and pointing a firearm at police officers. Both charges were dropped to misdemeanor charges in exchange for the guilty plea.

Keller will be sentenced on all charges on Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.

Keller was shot after she refused to drop her weapon and approached officers with a loaded gun on December 24, 2017. A warrant was issued for her arrest on May 3, 2018.

The incident:

At approximately 1:49 a.m. Sunday, December 24, 2017, Lawrence County Central Dispatch received a 911 call from a home at 559 Old Buddha Road. The caller told dispatchers that her daughter, Anita Keller, left the house to go outside. When the caller noticed her daughter had not returned, she searched for her daughter without success and heard a gunshot. She returned to the house and called 911.

The caller told the dispatcher she feared her daughter had shot herself.

Three officers from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene along with an AMR ambulance crew, who was directed to stage nearby for safety reasons.

Based on the report to the dispatcher, the officers anticipated they were searching for an individual with a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound. During a search behind the residence, officers heard movement in a field and located Keller on the ground and armed with a handgun.

Officers immediately found cover and ordered Keller to drop the weapon and surrender to the officers. She refused. Officers ordered Keller to drop her weapon several times. The encounter exceeded nine minutes.

Keller repeatedly refused to drop the weapon, threatened to shoot officers and bystanders, and pointed the gun at officers.

Keller then left her original position and approached the officers while pointing the gun.

When Keller approached closely enough that officers’ cover was ineffective, they ordered her to drop her gun. She refused.

Officers fired at Keller and she fell to the ground.

Officers provided immediate assistance and summoned the ambulance crew from the staging area to the scene of the shooting. Keller suffered three non-fatal gunshot wounds to her hand and leg.

A small semi-automatic handgun was found beside Keller. Another weapon was found in the vicinity of Keller’s position.

Keller was transported by air ambulance to a Louisville hospital where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries.