Father of Lee County shooting victim pushes for grand jury review

FORT MYERS, Fla. Self defense or murder?

That’s what Sandy Modell wants a grand jury to decide in the shooting death of his 32-year-old son, Ryan.

“He was loving and kind with a great sense of humor,” he said. ” My son was my best friend.”

Ryan Modell was celebrating a new job last March with his girlfriend and their friends.

However, that Mar. 20 night took a tragic turn when he mistook 45-year-old James Taylor’s Emerson Square community unit as his girlfriend’s.

Taylor had pushed Ryan Modell outside, warning him that he was armed, while his wife stayed inside and called 911, according to the state attorney’s office.

Modell then threatened Taylor and yelled obscenities at him, neighbors said.

When Modell decided to charge him, Taylor said he shot and killed him with a single bullet to the chest.

After a year-long investigation, the state attorney’s office announced Thursday their ruling of Modell’s death as justified, citing the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Now, Sandy Modell’s grief has now turned to anger.

“He was celebrating that he’d just gotten a new job these events unfolded … that’s bad enough,” he said. “But when you spend a year waiting for the justice system to operate the way it should and to be accountable and they don’t — that does make me frustrated and that does make me want to see accountability at the state attorney’s office.”

Modell and attorney Mark O’Mara, who successfully had George Zimmerman acquitted with a self defense argument, wants to take the case to a grand jury for review.

“I’m encouraging him to keep as much pressure on the state attorney’s office as possible.” O’Mara said.

But after reviewing both sides, the state attorney’s office has no intention of sending Modell’s case to a grand jury unless new evidence is presented.

Below is the state attorney’s office’s full memorandum:

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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