Murder Trial Jury Rips Cleveland Police in Letter to Judge

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A jury that earlier this year convicted a Cleveland woman of murder took the extraordinary step of penning a letter that excoriated three Cleveland police officers who investigated the crash that killed the woman’s husband, reports the Plain Dealer. The jury criticized the entire police investigation into the May 25, 2016, crash that killed Ronrico Shutes. Ashley Shutes, 33, was convicted of murder in her husband’s death and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The letter, signed by all 12 jurors, was given to Judge Brendan Sheehan just after the verdict was read in February. Sheehan filed the letter under seal. The Plain Dealer received a copy of the letter from a juror.

“As ordinary citizens — not police experts — we find [the officers’] behavior in responding to this incident to be inadequate and a disservice to the citizens of Cleveland,” the jurors wrote in the three-page letter. Officers Ryan Corrigan and Brian Soucek, who handled the initial probe, are facing an internal investigation. Jurors said in the letter that their criticism of the investigation did not affect their verdict. Testimony showed that Ashley Shutes ran over her husband–twice–in the driveway at their home. Corrigan and Soucek initially wrote it off as an accident. But body camera footage shows a Cleveland firefighter pointing out to police that there was damage to both the front and rear of her car.

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