PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Westmoreland County jury will travel for two site visits next week when the trial begins for Ray Shetler Jr.
He is charged in the murder of a Saint Clair Township police officer. Jury selection is scheduled to start next Monday.
Police say Shetler shot and killed Officer Lloyd Reed in November of 2015. Officer Reed was responding to a domestic dispute at the home of Shetler’s girlfriend.
Kristin Luther told a 911 dispatcher that Shetler was drunk and being abusive.
Kristin Luther: “Hi. I need the state police here.”
Dispatcher: “Ma’am what’s going on?”
Kristin Luther: “My boyfriend just assaulted me.”
Ray Shetler: (Unintelligible) “She assaulted me too.”
During a preliminary hearing, Shetler’s attorney argued his client was defending himself and didn’t realize Reed was a cop, or he never would have fired his gun.
“He knows many officers in the area. He’s been a friend of law enforcement and this is just really devastating to him. As the one trooper testified, Mr. Shetler indicated that if he had known it was an officer, he probably would have killed himself,” defense attorney Marc Daffner said.
However, prosecutors said Reed was in uniform as he arrived at the house on Ligonier Street. A backup officer arrived just as Officer Reed was telling Shetler to put down his gun.
At a pre-trial hearing on Monday, the judge approved the prosecution’s request that jurors visit the house to see where Officer Reed was killed.
They will also be bused across the Conemaugh River to a power plant where Shetler allegedly ran to. He was eventually found hiding in that location. That’s also where police said they found the murder weapon.
District Attorney John Peck argued although jurors will see photographs of the murder scene and video surveillance from the power plant, the visits are necessary to demonstrate the lengths Shetler allegedly went through to hide and conceal the crime.