By Dave Sutor
GREENSBURG, Pa. — A New Florence man who was as soon as acquitted of murdering a police officer was convicted by a jury on Friday of resisting arrest, disarming a regulation enforcement officer and one rely of aggravated assault.
Ray Allen Shetler was discovered not responsible of a second rely of aggravated assault.
A Westmoreland County jury deliberated for greater than 3 1/2 hours earlier than returning the decision in Choose Meagan Bilik-DeFazio’s courtroom. Shetler’s mom and a gaggle of law enforcement officials have been in attendance.
Shetler in 2018 was tried and located not responsible of homicide for the 2015 deadly taking pictures of St. Clair Township police Officer Lloyd Reed Jr. Nevertheless, Shetler was discovered responsible at that trial of the lesser prices of theft and receiving stolen property, associated to the theft of a car after Reed was shot.
The deadly taking pictures and that verdict performed oblique roles within the court case in opposition to him this week.
Michael Garofalo, Shetler’s assistant public defender, declined to remark after the decision.
“This case was no extra essential than any of the opposite circumstances we take care of in our workplace,” Westmoreland County Assistant District Lawyer Leo Ciaramitaro stated. “Clearly, Mr. Shetler had been acquitted. We respect the jury’s choice in that matter. Numerous work went into this case by way of the state police investigating company and the sheriffs in placing this collectively.”
Shetler was on probation on his 2018 theft-related convictions when a warrant was issued for his arrest in 2021 after he failed a drug take a look at and didn’t present up for a probation listening to.
State troopers and Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputies searched roughly a half-dozen places earlier than discovering Shetler hiding on Dec. 7, 2021, inside a buddy’s trailer in St. Clair Township.
A number of officers testified that they verbally recognized themselves as law enforcement officials, wore uniforms and confirmed lights on marked automobiles whereas executing an arrest warrant that they decided to be “high-risk” due to Shetler’s earlier taking pictures of Reed.
A violent confrontation ensued.
Officers testified that Shetler aggressively resisted arrest.
Shetler testified that the officers “got here in sizzling,” “appeared like killers” and instantly began attacking once they found him hiding beneath blankets and “wedged” between a wall and futon. He stated that the officers have been looking for “retribution” for his deadly taking pictures of Reed and his acquittal in that case.
Shetler claimed that an officer put a Taser to his head and stated, “That is for Reed,” earlier than firing. A Taser probe broken Shetler’s eye, which precipitated him to go blind in that eye as a result of it couldn’t be surgically repaired. Garofalo described the scenario as “fairly actually” changing into “an eye fixed for an eye fixed” throughout his closing assertion.
Trooper Jake Goga testified that Shetler was roughly 4 ft away from him when he began to fireplace the Taser, however that Shetler “lunged,” which precipitated the Taser to not hit Shetler’s midsection as Goga supposed.
Officers additionally delivered “compliance strikes” to Shetler throughout a wrestle that lasted an estimated 60 to 80 seconds in a 10-by-12-foot bed room.
Garofalo ended his closing argument by exhibiting an image of Shetler’s bloodied face and saying, “Nobody ought to seem like that after failing to seem for court.”
Each of the aggravated assault prices in opposition to Shetler concerned Sgt. Irvin Shipley, from the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Division, who suffered accidents to his head, hand and shoulder when struggling to assist get management of Shetler. Shipley stated Shetler lunged at him, pushed him backward right into a wall and tried to remove his gun.
Shetler was discovered responsible on the cost that required the proof to indicate that “the defendant has precipitated bodily damage to a regulation enforcement officer,” however not responsible on the cost through which the usual was that “he tried to trigger critical bodily damage to a regulation enforcement officer,” in response to Ciaramitaro.
Shetler’s sentencing is scheduled for 90 days after the decision. Ciaramitaro stated the utmost mixed sentence for the three convictions can be 19 years.
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