John Phillips Case Notes from 2017:
February 9, 2018:
Amended Complaint filed. Download the original complaint here- Amended Complaint.
December 19, 2017:
William Sheppard appeared on the record on behalf of Michael Centanni. Download the notice here-Notice Of Appearance Of Counsel.
December 13, 2017:
Thanks to Folio Weekly and Claire Goforth for telling Keegan’s story. Many more questions to ask as this develops. Read here- http://folioweekly.com/stori…/the-dead-bear-no-witness,18831.
December 9, 2017 (Process Served):
On July 20, 2017, Keegan Roberts was killed by his across the street neighbor Michael Centanni in Jacksonville, Florida. About midnight, Centanni left the safety of his own home to go over to Keegan’s car and confront him in his driveway. Centanni took his gun to start the argument with Keegan over litter which allegedly blew in Centanni’s yard. When Centanni wouldn’t leave Keegan’s yard, Keegan got out of his car to protect himself and his pregnant wife and to tell Centanni to leave. Centanni shot Keegan at least 3 times. He was never arrested. Keegan’s unborn child died later from the stress of the situation. State Attorney Melissa Nelson said she didn’t know what crime Michael Centanni committed. We suggested a number of them. The State Attorney then cancelled a meeting because one prosecutor was on an international vacation. They then released a “disposition statement” defending the step-son of a police officer, Michael Centanni, and vilifying the victim. It declared Centanni innocent of any crime.
We received word that Centanni appeared to be moving on Friday. We filed a wrongful death suit immediately and hired a process server, explaining the potential danger of the situation. Fearing for their safety and to make sure Centanni didn’t evade service, My office dispatched someone to let the process server know when Centanni was home. My office parked across from his home. Centanni proceeded to leave and then pulled over and followed our truck (which depicts our brand- FL JSTCE). He apparently also called police.
Our process server and a member of my office returned to Centanni’s house a little later and noticed a police cruiser in his driveway. While a member of JSO was inside Centanni’s house, we felt safe to knock on his door and successfully served him with a wrongful death complaint. The civil lawsuit has begun.
It is our pleasure to represent Keegan Roberts’ family. We have, again, requested his arrest in the email attached which was sent to Ms. Nelson. We request Centanni’s immediate deposition and for anyone with knowledge to come forward. Justice will prevail.
December 8, 2017:
Complaint filed. Download the original complaint here- Complaint.
Honest question- if Michael Dunn’s dad or step-dad wore this uniform, would there have been justice for Jordan? I hope so. Keegan Roberts’s killer not only doesn’t get arrested but gets an early “disposition” (meaning ‘to dispose of’) his case which misconstrues facts, gives the killer the benefit of the doubt and a roadmap to a defense and the state attorney still delays giving us the file. Black lives what? #bluedad#shieldedfromarrest
October 2, 2017:
We had a meeting today where it was explained to the family of Keegan Roberts that no charges will be filed at this time. They view Keegan’s killer’s right to self defense as so strong they refuse to even charge him. Nevermind that Centanni left his home with a loaded gun to start an argument with Keegan over litter. Nevermind that Centanni banged on Keegan’s car and baited him out of the car where he sat with his pregnant wife. Nevermind Keegan repeatedly told him to leave his property. Nevermind Keegan was previously called n—– by Centanni. Nevermind that Centanni shot Keegan dead in his own driveway. You can now commit the perfect murder of anyone you know is carrying. Just make sure they have their gun out when you kill them.
Here is the prosecutor “explaining” all the ways Centanni could win.
September 16, 2017:
Keegan Roberts was killed July 20th by his across the street neighbor Michael Centanni.
About midnight, Michael left the safety of his own home to go over to Keegan’s. Michael took his gun to start an argument with Keegan over litter. When Michael wouldn’t leave Keegan’s yard, Keegan got out of his car to protect his himself and his pregnant wife also in the car and to tell Michael to leave. Michael shot Keegan at least 3 times. He was never arrested. Keegan’s unborn child died later from the stress of the situation. Melissa Nelson said she didn’t know what crime Michael Centanni committed. They then cancelled a meeting because a prosecutor was on an international vacation. We get no answers. The State Attorney’s Office seems to be the only one who can’t find a crime here. The family doesn’t get time off from suffering. NOT EVEN AN ARREST?
On September 20, we will hold a rally for Keegan Roberts. Location coming soon. Demand an arrest. Demand justice.
Guess who killed who? Yes, it’s the white guy who is free on some self defense or stand your ground theory.
Do not forget about this tragedy and injustice. #justiceforkeegan
September 9, 2107:
There is a key song during Hamilton which describes when Alexander Hamilton loses his child Philip. It always gets me:
“There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable.”
It always reminds me of the families we work for who are going through the unimaginable. We don’t push it away. We try to understand. Since Jordan Davis was killed, since having Bennett and Weston and Johnathan, I simply have to.
Last night, I thought about Keegan Roberts and his family. This State Attorney’s Office and JSO doesn’t understand the unimaginable. They don’t understand that an arrest doesn’t just promote a civil society, it helps a family going through the unimaginable.
Can you imagine sitting in a car with your pregnant wife and a neighbor who has previously called you “n—–” bangs on your car door to start a fight about litter at midnight? Can you imagine that neighbor leaving his safe home with a gun to start this aggression and then kills your son, your father, your husband? And no arrest. Unimaginable. And creates a widow and orphan? Unimaginable.
It must stop. Centanni must be arrested. Or we must know why he’s being protected instead of cancelling meetings because of international vacations. Unimaginable.
September 1, 2017:
Keegan Roberts’s family had a scheduled meeting with the State Attorney’s Office tomorrow at the request of the SAO. They called to cancel today because one of those he young prosecutors on the case is on an international vacation until September 11. So, the family was told to wait on this lawyer who is so important to the case that he can spend two weeks away from it and still be necessary. I guess that’s a sign that there won’t be an arrest in September either. There certainly won’t be another meeting until there is an arrest.
It’s been 43 days since Michael Centanni got off of his couch, grabbed a loaded gun, walked down his front driveway because he was mad at the person he called “n—–” across the road, crosses the street, walked on to his neighbor’s property and aggressively banged on his neighbor’s car over yard trash. He didn’t listen to Keegan’s requests that he leave his property. He then shot Keegan at least 3 times as Keegan got out to defend his pregnant wife and himself.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice ignored is injustice.
I’d love media to ask Angela Corey how quickly she would have had this man arrested. #justiceforkeegan
August 20, 2017:
It’s been a month since Keegan Roberts was killed. On Thursday, we will have an announcement and be taking this matter to the next level if Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office, 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida don’t make an arrest. This was minimally manslaughter. Centanni knowingly waited for his neighbor to get home- a neighbor he was angry with over yard trash who ignored his demands. A neighbor he had openly called “n—–” days before- words of hate. Centanni knowingly took a gun over to his neighbor’s house in the middle of the night. He knowingly baited Keegan out of his car by banging on it. And after Keegan took the bait and stood in his own yard, Centanni knowingly fired that gun 3-4 times, killing Keegan. His actions were so depraved and unwarranted that an arrest should have been immediate with the simple finding that Keegan was killed in his own yard.
We think the facts will actually support 1st or 2nd degree murder. We also think Centanni committed an aggravated assault on Keegan’s wife which led to the death of their unborn child. The funeral is Monday. This isn’t an ultimatum. This is a demand for a modicum of Justice. This is a demand that human rights be protected. This is a demand that self defense and stand your ground not be used as a sword to commit homicide. Arrest Michael Centanni now.
August 16, 2017:
Keegan Roberts Update:
Yesterday, the family and I met with Melissa Nelson (State Attorney), Mac Heavener (Chief Assistant State Attorney), Octavius Holliday (ASA, head of human rights division), Alan Mizrahi (Homicide Chief), Tim Quick (Chief Investigator), Karl Harms (Victim Advocate) and Tom Mangan (ASA assigned to the case). It was an emotional meeting.
The point of the meeting was to show the leadership of the State Attorneys office that Keegan Roberts has an amazing family and team behind him. It was also to learn information.
It certainly was disappointing when Mr. Mangan said, “Until we have enough evidence, there will not be an arrest.” However, it looks like they do have all hands on deck to try and determine the level of crime committed, but aren’t going to rush in an arrest just because the cops didn’t do one initially when they should have.
For those that don’t know the story… We represent Keegan Roberts’s family. On July 20, 2017, Keegan Roberts’s neighbor, Michael Centanni, continued to harass Keegan and his family by leaving notes on his car. On this day, Centanni was harassing his neighbor over litter or debris in his yard. He previously had shouted at his neighbors, using hate words like the n- word and s-word (describing his Hispanic in-laws).
Keegan Roberts left the residence to go on a date with his pregnant wife, Eliany Roberts. Upon return about midnight, they were sitting in the car in their driveway when a person, later identified as the aforementioned neighbor, Michael Centanni, engaged in an act of aggression upon Mr. Roberts or his vehicle, causing him to exit his vehicle. Mr. Roberts was shot three to four times by Michael Centanni. He died on the scene.
It is our understanding Michael Centanni claims Mr. Roberts aimed a gun in his direction. Although we dispute a gun was ever pointed at Michael Centanni, Mr. Roberts was on his own property and had a right to defend his property, his person and his nearby pregnant wife from aggression and harm. Further, if Mr. Roberts indeed was armed, evidence showed he never fired despite Centanni having a chance to pull out his gun, chamber a round and fire multiple shots. Keegan also had a valid concealed weapons permit.
Centanni was never arrested and apparently has left town. We have since learned that he was ex-military and had weapons training. The State Attorney cannot answer whether he applied to or was seeking employment with JSO.
Keegan’s pregnant wife lost her baby this week, after 5 months of carrying her, due to the stress. The funeral will be Monday at 1 PM.
Keep this family in your prayers.
August 15, 2017:
Paid my respects and met who I’m really fighting for- Keegan’s daughter.
August 15, 2017:
Meeting with SA Melissa Nelson concerning Keegan Roberts case. Pray for justice.
August 11, 2017:
Keegan Roberts wife/widow, Eliany, lost their baby, Eleonai Keevon Roberts, 5 months into the term. Keegan’s mom is making funeral arrangements again. Keep them in your prayers. #JusticeforKeegan
August 10, 2017:
My firm has been hired by Keegan Roberts family. We will obtain an immediate meeting with Melissa Nelson and see that Michael Centanni faces due process and justice prevails. #Justice4Keegan
MORE ABOUT THIS CASE:
We invite you to review our verdicts, our accolades and awards and what clients have to say about us and give us a call for a free consultation where our lawyers will consult with you personally. John represents clients in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and before the U.S. Supreme Court with passion and compassion. Our firm handles a wide variety of injury and death cases, criminal defense, family law and a host of high profile matters. We can be emailed at [email protected] or call us at (904) 444-4444 in Florida or (912) 444-4444 in Georgia.