Posted on 8/18/2016

Defendant: James Allen Byrd

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said, “Without warning, this man entered a room and fatally shot the victim while she was watching television with her mother.”  Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced today that the Franklin County Grand Jury has returned a three count indictment against James Allen Byrd, age 53, for two counts of Murder with Specifications (UF), and one count of Having Weapons While Under Disability (F-3), in connection to the August 10th, 2016 shooting death of Rae’Lynn/Rayshawn Lee Thomas, age 28, that occurred at 1533 Tracy Circle in southwest Columbus.  “There are two counts of murder with only one deceased victim, because under Ohio law, there are different ways to commit the crime of murder and it is my practice to charge all ways that the crime was committed,” O’Brien stated.  Byrd has a prior conviction from an offense that occurred in 1993 which is the basis of the WUD count in the indictment.  O’Brien further stated, “A count of ethnic intimidation is not included in this indictment as Ohio statutes still do not provide heightened protection to crime victims based upon sexual orientation or transgender status.  Several bills are pending in the Legislature to add that protection.”  It is alleged that following the shooting of Thomas, Byrd started beating her before Byrd fled from the apartment.  Byrd was arrested outside the apartment shortly thereafter.  O’Brien commended the Columbus Police for their rapid apprehension of Byrd.  Byrd will be arraigned on Monday, August 22nd at 1:30 pm in courtroom 2B at 345 S. High Street.