On July 31, 22-year-old James Rayl was gunned down by his ex-girlfriend's father after allegedly attempting to break into their house in Sydney, Ohio.
In the video, James Rayl can be seen pounding on the door when he is told by his ex-girlfriend's father, Mitch Duckro, to leave. Rayl continued to knock on the door before he eventually tried barging into the house.
At this point, shots were fired, and screams could be heard. James Rayl attempted to flee the scene, but he collapsed in Duckro's driveway after being struck by a bullet. According to WOWKTV, first responders pronounced him dead at the scene.
Jury classifies the shooting as self-defense but James Rayl's sister disagrees
In an official statement, Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell said that a jury justified the shooting of the 22-year-old as self-defense. The New York Post reported that their decision stems from Ohio's "Stand Your Ground Law," which allows homeowners to fatally shoot trespassers on their property.
The law was updated last year to clarify that homeowners do not have to attempt to retreat into their houses before firing at potential threats.
The jury had also been given an audio clipping of the shooting, in which James Rayl's ex-girlfriend could be heard expressing her fear of Rayl attempting to kill her.
"He’s trying the door dad . . . dad . . dad. Is he trying to kill me?"
After the shooting, she said:
"Dad, there’s nothing you could have done. You saved my life."
However, according to Jessica Colbert, sister of James Rayl, the fatal shooting was unnecessary as her brother appeared to be fleeing when the shots were fired.
She said in a post:
"Mitch shot him in the back and killed him."
The post continued:
"I hope your days are more miserable than they’ve ever been. You’re a disgusting excuse of a human being along with your daughter."
What did the witnesses say?
As per WHIO TV, witnesses at the scene differed in their version of how the incident unfolded. Per one anonymous eyewitness, Rayl had apparently not entered the home, as opposed to Duckro's claims.
Another neighbor, Jeff Hereford, supported this and claimed to have seen Rayl dying on Duckro's driveway. Hereford alleged that Rayl might not have succeeded in breaking into the house and he (Hereford) believed Duckro had fired through a closed door. He said:
“If (Rayl) entered the house, why did (Duckro) shoot through the door?”
In response to the shooting, Rayl's family has started a Facebook page protesting about the Duckros not being prosecuted. They claim that the 911 calls were staged.