Woman pushes for ‘real investigation’ by Shelby County into shooting death of her brother

·3 min read

Jessica Colbert is continuing to push for what she calls “a real investigation” in the fatal shooting of her brother, who was killed when the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said he tried to force his way through the front door of his former girlfriend’s home in late July.

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In early August, a county grand jury declined to indict the father of the former girlfriend who shot 22-year-old James Rayl at the front door of the home in the 2900 block of North Kuther Road.

“I was ready to just fall to the ground, because there was no way, when he was supposed to go before me,” Colbert told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek on Friday. “And I just couldn’t believe it..”

Colbert said her brother and the woman dated off and on for years. Colbert said she didn’t believe her brother was breaking into the home.

“There was never like an indication of like a sour break up or anything like that, because the way James spoke about her, was as if he cared for her,” Colbert said.

She wants to know more because she doesn’t believe the sheriff’s office executed a full investigation into her brother’s death “and I think at the very least, we deserve that.”

Sheriff Jim Frye said he takes issue with Colbert’s allegations.

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“I believe we did an outstanding job with everything we needed to collect that night,” he said to Koweek. “I think I also understand how the family is grieving, but we go by the evidence that we collect, and we collected just about every piece of evidence that we could possibly collect at the scene.”

Colbert said Rayl’s family doesn’t understand the amount of time that goes into such an investigation.

“What they don’t understand is what they didn’t see, is all the investigation that’s going on once we got back to the office, and things of that nature,” the sheriff said.

The county prosecutor also told News Center 7 that office believed the death investigation was thorough.

Those explanations don’t satisfy Colbert, who said the first step is for her family to have “every bit of evidence.”

Sheriff Frye said his office has given Colbert and her family copies of the evidence that was collected, including the doorbell camera video.

“Any time I go into a case like this and I talk to either a victim or a family member, in something like this, I always tell them that there’s questions that they’re going to ask that we’ll never have the answers to or be able to answer,” he said.

Colbert said the lingering questions don’t sit well with her either.

“It feels as if our vision is fogged because we truly don’t have the truth,” she said.