Shetler transferred to Westmoreland prison, claims further medical treatment needed

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A former St. Clair Township man acquitted in the 2015 murder of a police officer is back at the Westmoreland County Jail, where he will remain pending the outcome of a new case stemming from his arrest this week on charges of alleged probation violations.

Ray Allen Shetler Jr., 37, appeared Friday by video from county jail for an arrest warrant hearing before Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani. Shetler claimed he was not properly cared for by corrections officials and insisted he needed additional medical attention for injuries he sustained during his arrest.

“They are not able to take care of me in prison. If I lose my eye, I’m going to sue everyone,” Shetler told Judge, sporting a plastic shield over his surgically repaired left eye.

Shetler said he has yet to receive medical attention after being transferred to jail Thursday from a Pittsburgh hospital, where he was being treated for injuries police say he sustained after fighting back against the sheriff’s deputies and state police troopers who found him late Tuesday in hiding. under a futon in a mobile home near Seward.

Shetler was combative during the arrest and had to be subdued with a Taser, officials said. A deputy who was injured in the incident was treated at a local hospital and released.

Shetler said on Friday he received staples in his head and stitches around his eye and expected to lose his sight.

Director Bryan Kline denied the allegations of abuse. Shetler was examined by prison medical staff Thursday and was checked regularly throughout the night and again Friday morning, Kline said.

“He is receiving proper medical care,” Kline said. “The health and safety of inmates is something we take seriously.”

The judge ordered Shetler to remain detained at the jail pending a probation revocation hearing, which will be scheduled once the new criminal case is resolved. The judge also ordered that Shetler be evaluated for mental health and drug and alcohol issues.

Police this week charged Shetler with aggravated assault and resisting arrest. On Friday, Ligonier District Judge Denise Thiel arraigned Shetler on the charges, set $250,000 cash bond and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 17.

Kenneth W. Krouse, 56, owner of the mobile home along Shrum Hill Road where Shetler was found hiding, and Keeley Shay Morgan, 29, of New Florence, are charged with obstructing the arrest of a fugitive.

Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio issued an arrest warrant Dec. 3 after Shetler failed to show up for a probation revocation hearing. Probation officials alleged Shetler violated his probation when he failed to show up, had to pay court costs and tested positive in August for methamphetamine.

Shetler was on probation after being convicted of theft and receiving charges for stealing property related to his attempted escape following the November 2015 fatal shooting of Constable Lloyd Reed while responding to a domestic call.

A jury found Shetler not guilty of the first and third degree murder of Reed, 54, of Hollsopple, County Somerset, following a six-day trial in 2018.

Reed, a part-time officer, was first on the scene at Shetler’s home on Ligonier Street in nearby New Florence after Shetler’s girlfriend called 911 for help. Witnesses said Reed ran into Shetler, who was holding a gun, and asked him to drop the gun. Shetler refused to comply and Reed fired six shots.

Shetler fired three bullets from the rifle, one of which hit Reed under his left arm and just beyond his body armor.

The defense argued that Shetler did not know the gunman in his front yard was a police officer.

Witnesses said Shetler fled after the shooting. He was arrested after a six-hour manhunt.

The jury found him guilty of two counts of theft for stealing a vehicle during his getaway. He was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison and five years probation.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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