Shepard was not permitted to be in possession of any firearms on day of shooting and day of his arrest.
An Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci Press Release.
JEFFERSON_On May 22, 2018, the Ashtabula County Grand Jury indicted Darrell A. Shepard on the following eight charges relating to the November 27, 2017 shooting death of Randy Gozzard in Monroe Township:
- One count of Involuntary Manslaughter, a first degree felony
- Two counts of Involuntary Manslaughter, each of which is a third degree felony
- Two counts of Having Weapons While Under Disability, each of which is a third degree felony
- One count of Injuring Persons or Property While Hunting, a first degree misdemeanor
- One count of Hunting without Permission, a third degree misdemeanor
- One count of Failure to Report Knowledge of a Death, a fourth degree misdemeanor
The charges against Mr. Shepard stem from a fatal hunting-related shooting incident on November 27, 2017 which took place near the dead-end of Horton Road just across the Conneaut City limits in Monroe Township. Randy Gozzard was a part of a four-person hunting party on the first day of hunting season when Mr. Gozzard was shot and killed at approximately 12:40pm. Based on the investigation, it was discovered that Mr. Shepard had been unlawfully hunting in the same area as Mr. Gozzard and fired shots in the vicinity of Mr. Gozzard. Mr. Shepard had failed to appear for a pending criminal case against him and an active warrant was in place for his arrest prior to and on the date of the shooting. On December 18, 2017, the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department converged on Mr. Shepard who was hiding at a residence in Pierpont Township, and Mr. Shepard was arrested and several guns in the residence were seized. Mr. Shepard was not permitted to be in possession of any firearms, both on the dates of the shooting and his arrest.
After his arrest, Mr. Shepard admitted to authorities that he was hunting on November 27 in the same area where Mr. Gozzard had been killed, that he discovered Mr. Gozzard’s body after he fired shots from a shotgun he was possessing at the time, and that he failed to report the shooting death to authorities. Mr. Shepard further identified the shotgun that he used while hunting as being one of the firearms seized on December 18. The same firearm was analyzed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and was determined to be operable and to match the 12- gauge shell found at the scene of the shooting.
I would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources – Division of Wildlife and Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department for their exceptional work in investigating this very difficult case. I would also like to thank the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Conneaut Police Department, Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office, and Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for their outstanding work on this very difficult case.
Mr. Shepard has been in custody and incarcerated at the Ashtabula County Jail since his December 18, 2017 arrest.2