Man Convicted of Assaulting Deputy Sheriff During Arrest
A man previously acquitted in the shooting death of a Western Pennsylvania police officer eight years ago now faces conviction for assaulting a deputy sheriff during an arrest attempt two years ago.
Ray Shetler Jr., aged 39 and hailing from New Florence, was found guilty of aggravated assault, attempted disarming of a law enforcement official, and resisting arrest by a jury in Westmoreland County. The incident unfolded in St. Clair Township in December 2021, culminating in a violent confrontation. Shetler, however, was acquitted of one count of aggravated assault.
Shetler was already on probation for theft-related convictions dating back to 2018 when he failed a drug test and skipped a probation hearing. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued for his apprehension. State troopers and county sheriff’s deputies eventually located him hiding in a friend’s trailer, which led to the tumultuous confrontation. Officers testified that Shetler vigorously resisted arrest.
During the trial, Shetler alleged that he had been subjected to physical abuse by multiple officers, and the use of a stun device had left him with permanent eye damage. In his defense, Michael Garofalo, his attorney, concluded his closing statement by presenting a photograph of Shetler’s battered face, declaring, “No one should endure such injuries for failing to appear in court.”
Following the verdict, Garofalo declined to provide any further comments.
Notably, in 2018, Shetler had been acquitted of first- and third-degree murder charges in the case involving the shooting death of 54-year-old police officer Lloyd Reed. Officer Reed had responded to a domestic violence call at Shetler’s residence in November 2015. Witnesses testified that Reed had ordered Shetler to drop a rifle, and a confrontation ensued, resulting in Shetler firing back and ultimately killing Reed. Shetler maintained that he had no knowledge of Reed’s status as a police officer and acted in self-defense. In that instance, he was convicted on theft and stolen property charges.
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