Grand jury declines to indict homeowner in deadly Shelby County shooting

SIDNEY — No charges will be filed against a homeowner in a deadly shooting in Shelby County this week.

A grand jury voted 8-1 against indicting the homeowner on charges, according to Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell.

Shelby County Sheriff James Frye previously told News Center 7 he expected the panel to dismiss the case because of Ohio’s new “Stand Your Ground” law that took effect in April 2021.

House Bill 38 repealed the law, which removed a person’s legal duty to attempt to retreat or walk away before firing their gun in public. The law has been updated to keep the “castle doctrine,” which says a person does not have to retreat in their home or vehicle before firing their gun.

News Center 7, by way of an information request, obtained doorbell video footage of James Rayl, 22, seconds before he is hit by gunfire when he appears to force his way into the home in the 2900 block of North Kuther Road on July 31.

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In the video, Rayl pounds on the door after he is asked to leave.

In the 911 audio recording of the incident, also obtained by News Center 7 by way of an information request, a woman, who described Rayl as her ex-boyfriend, said, “He’s trying the door dad . . . dad . . dad. Is he trying to kill me?”

County sheriff’s investigators said it is at that moment, Rayl broke the front door and began to go inside. He’s hit immediately by three gunshots.

In the same 911 call, the woman is heard to say, " Dad there’s nothing you could have done. You saved my life.”

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A neighbor checked on the wounded Rayl -- when the woman inside refused a dispatcher’s request to do so -- and said he didn’t see Rayl enter the home.

“If he entered the house, why did he shoot through the door?” the neighbor, Jeff Hereford, asked McDermott.

Hereford said he doesn’t agree with his neighbors or the incident report on the shooting, claiming he saw everything as well as Rayl on the ground.

Another neighbor, Denesa Goings, told McDermott she believed the woman’s father had every right to fire a weapon.

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