On Friday, May 25, 2018, the Adair County Grand Jury heard testimony regarding the shooting death of Dontay Sangster, (age 28), which occurred shortly after noon on March 28, 2018, at a residence on Church Street in Columbia. The investigation into the shooting was led by Sgt. Junior Murphy with the Columbia Police Department, who determined that Sangster had been shot by Michael L. “Ed” Dial. Sgt. Murphy was assisted at the scene by other officers with the Columbia Police Department as well as deputies from the Adair County Sheriff’s Department.
According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Wright, the Adair County Grand Jury heard testimony from Sgt. Murphy and reviewed evidence in the case when they met for the May grand jury session. The grand jury deliberated and determined that Michael L. “Ed” Dial was legally justified when he shot Sangster earlier this year, and the grand jury declined to indict Dial for any criminal charge. According to the investigation, Sangster had gone to Dial’s residence on Church Street in an attempt to locate Dial’s fiance’s daughter, Keyaire Grider, and children that the two had in common. It was also learned that Sangster had previously made threats against Grider and other family members. Sangster approached Dial’s residence while armed with a handgun and was met by Dial at the front door of the residence. Due to earlier threats made by Sangster, Dial had also armed himself with a firearm when he realized that Sangster was at the residence. Dial informed Sangster that neither Grider nor the children were at the residence at that time and asked Sangster to leave. Sangster then became aggressive and began to threaten Dial, at which time Dial fired a single shot which struck Sangster in the neck. Officers arrived and found Sangster lying on the ground a few feet from the front porch of the Dial residence with a handgun in his right hand. Sangster later died at the University of Louisville Hospital.
The Adair County Grand Jury issued a report which stated, in part, that “the use of deadly physical force by Michael L. Dial upon Dontay J. Sangster was justifiable because Michael L. Dial believed that such force was necessary to protect himself against death, serious physical injury, or a felony involving the use of force. As a result, the case has been considered and the votes of the Grand Jury are insufficient to return any indictment against Michael L. Dial.” Based on the grand jury’s report, Dial will not face any criminal charges arising from the incident.
Regarding the grand jury’s decision, Wright stated “Kentucky law gives citizens great latitude when it comes to defending themselves and their families, especially in their own home.” Wright also commended the Columbia Police Department and Sgt. Murphy for their thorough investigation of the incident.