Man Acquitted Of Murder For Killing Cop After Claiming Cop Shot First

Ray Shetler shot St. Clair Township Officer Lloyd Reed when he responded to the man's home for a domestic assault.

Greensburg, PA – A man who fatally shot a St. Clair Township Police Department (SCTPD) officer before fleeing the scene in a stolen pickup was acquitted of murder on Friday evening.

Ray Shetler Jr., 33, faced a potential death sentence if he would have been convicted on counts of first- or third-degree murder, The Tribune-Review reported.

As the verdict was read, the widow of slain SCTPD Officer Lloyd Reed wept, while Shetler’s family erupted with cheers, KDKA reported.

“I started yelling and of course the sheriff made me stop,” Shetler’s stepfather, Mark Porter told WPXI. “But I wanted to get up and run around.”

“Justice was served, he self-defensed himself,” Porter said.

According to prosecutors, Shetler became enraged on Nov. 28, 2015, after his girlfriend, Kristen Luther, woke him up just after 9 p.m., the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Luther said that she had been assaulted by Shelter, who had been drinking, at that she was bleeding from her nose.

“This would not have happened if she just let me sleep,” Shetler told Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Investigator Michael McElfresh just hours after Officer Reed’s murder, according to The Tribune-Review.

According to WTAE, Shetler testified that Luther was "acting crazy, like women do."

Although the New Florence domestic disturbance was in the PSP’s jurisdiction, their nearest trooper was 23 miles away, so Officer Reed responded to the call as an agency assist, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reported.

The officer approached the residence on foot, as Luther remained on the phone with the 911 operator.

Shelter confronted officers with a rifle, and the officers ordered him to drop the gun.

Shelter and his girlfriend later testified that Officer Reed started shooting. Luther used his rifle to fatally shoot Officer Reed.

Suddenly, Luther began to panic.

“Oh my God, they’re going to [expletive] shoot him,” Luther was heard screaming during an audio recording of the emergency call.

“Oh my God, oh my God... officer is shot!” she said a moment later.

Investigators said that Shetler then stole a pickup and fled the scene, before he swam across the Conemaugh River and discarded his clothing and the .270 caliber rifle he used to shoot Officer Reed, The Tribune-Review reported.

Shetler was arrested approximately six hours later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Under questioning, Shetler said he was familiar with Officer Reed, and that they had discussed selling firewood in the past.

“I just talked to Officer Reed the day before,” Shetler later told Investigator McElfresh, according to The Tribune-Review. “I do remember him saying, ‘Put the gun down.' There was gunfire, and I just reacted and shot from the hip.”

Officer Reed, 54, was killed from a single round, which entered the officer’s chest under his left arm. The bullet penetrated his heart, and exited through his right arm. He died within minutes, forensic pathologist Dr. Ashely Zezulak testified.

“I thought he was kidding when he said he would shoot me and him,” Luther was heard saying in dashcam footage, according to WTAE. “He’s drunk! He’s drunk! Oh my god – I can’t believe he shot somebody.”

Shetler was hit in the shoulder during the shootout, and medical personnel testified that he was “belligerent” and showed “no remorse” after the fatal incident.

One medic told the court that Shetler said he “wished more cops would have come after him,” and that he had “ran out of bullets.”

PSP ballistic expert Robert Hagins told the court that Officer Reed fired six rounds during the exchange, and that another officer who arrived on scene fired one. Shetler fired three.

Shetler and Luther claimed that Officer Reed fired the first shot, and Shetler’s attorney argued that his client did not know he was shooting at a police officer. He claimed that Shetler acted in self-defense.

“The defendant admitted on the stand to trying to kill Officer Reed,” District Attorney John Peck told the jury in his closing arguments, according to KDKA. “I ask you to draw a reasonable common sense conclusion that the person holding that .260 rifle was holding it at the shoulder and aimed. The defendant’s claim that he was firing wildly from the hip… The evidence doesn’t show that.”

During Shelter's first interview with police, he claimed he didn't know he shot at an officer. However, during his second interview he said that he knew the police were at his house, according to The Tribune Review.

After 20 hours of deliberation, the jury not only acquitted Shetler of murder, but they also found him not guilty of charges of terroristic threats and simple assault.

He was convicted of theft and receiving stolen property, and faces up to seven years in prison.

Officer Reed served a total of 25 years in law enforcement, and had been with the SCTPD for five years prior to his murder, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He is survived by Rosemarie, his wife of 15 years, the Greensburg Tribune Review reported.

Comments (19)
No. 1-19
rover77
rover77

wtf

PrisonCop
PrisonCop

I'm at a loss for words other than to say this is why I'm rapidly losing my faith in humanity.

JBo
JBo

I think the justice system is starting to crumble in this country...I just don't understand this verdict.

gfc1963
gfc1963

How?? How can any fucking jury in the world have all the evidence that this POS shot that cop and acquit the guy?? How?? And his family jumping up and down and saying he 'self-defensed' himself?? The cops should just go on strike and say fuck it.

RunCop
RunCop

Are PA juries all this stupid?

Jmo
Jmo

Why oh why didn't they kill this asshole why do the idiots always live

Supertrooper431
Supertrooper431

This is just one reason why I got out of Law Enforcement. It is a noble profession, but society has turned it into a circus show. To many bad court decisions are making good officers rethink their commitment to serving their communities. Where's the benefit of being ridiculed in the media, disrespected by the citizens we try to protect, and are scowled at by the judges and juries that are supposed to enforce the letter of the law. I'm glad we finally have a President who respects and honors those who protect our communities.

meyerlansky6
meyerlansky6

Disgusting story. The killer's stepfather said "He self-defensed himself". That wonderful grammar is just one small example of the trash these people are. How the jury could have believed his story is beyond me. The village idiots must have been on the jury.

Rkidsrcops
Rkidsrcops

It’s a sad day in our country that r justice system does not defend the officers that r held to a higher standard. They should put the whole family down for cheering a death of anyone

willhunt22
willhunt22

After eight damn years of demonizing law enforcement in this country, this is what we get, a scumbag woman beater who confesses to murdering an officer, is acquitted. Amazing!!!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@willhunt22 always someone else's fault, eh?

DrB488
DrB488

Judge should have overturned verdict and put the murderer away

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

Too bad he's going to prison, I was hoping he would be on the street BEATING MORE WOMEN, STEALING FROM MORE HOMES AND MAYBE RUNNING DOWN SOME SMALL CHILDREN IN THAT SHITHOLE TOWN.

RetiredDep
RetiredDep

A Chautauqua County NY Jury acquits man of attempted murder of a Police officer and this, what has become of our society ? Criminals have more rights, shit like this is what happens when Presidents like obama and his minions (Attorney Generals) champion scumbag criminals over the Nations Police Officers. Sad day in our Nation !

NomonK
NomonK

God Bless all our LEO's. You are in my prayers. Please don't let the Negative override the Positive you do.

Sue Lynn
Sue Lynn

When he does it again to someone else hopefully one of the DA that let him off or some unsuspecting innocent women he's with. Whose fault will it be then? I'm so sick of this crap, low life sob's have more rights than any law abiding citizen and the people that bravely protect us.

davidebrwn
davidebrwn

Total BS . the court ignored all the evidence. I hope that judge is confronted by one or two of the criminals , that now think they can do whatever they want.

lolamae
lolamae

The guy was fleeing the scene of a domestiic assault in a stolen truck, how sad this man will walk the streets again and do it all over again to some other woman and maybe kill her. That Judge is one of the compassion for criminals ideology.