Sherman files petition to change ruling

11/9/2003 - Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers assistant coach Ray Sherman and
his wife filed a petition to have their son's death ruled an

Ray Sherman Jr., 14, died May 18 after shooting himself in the
head with his father's pistol in the family garage.

Brown County Medical Examiner Al Klimek initially ruled the
death a suicide but changed the manner of death last week to

The Shermans filed a petition Friday in Brown County Circuit
Court that asked a judge to change the death certificate. A court
date has not been set.

"We will do whatever it takes to clear our son's name and fight
for his honor," Ray Sherman said Sunday at a news conference.

The Shermans' lawyer, Avram Berk, had two forensic scientists
and a psychiatrist review the case. He said they believed what
happened was an accident.

"We have given the acting medical examiner every opportunity to
do the right thing, and he continually refuses to do so," Berk
said. "We have been left with no choice but to file this

Klimek initially said he ruled Ray Sherman Jr.'s death a suicide
because the boy had to take deliberate, intentional steps --
retrieving and loading the gun, disengaging safeties and placing it
against his temple -- before pulling the trigger.

But he changed his ruling because the teen displayed no signs of
wanting to hurt himself. A message left for Klimek at his home
Sunday by The Associated Press was not returned.

The Shermans have maintained their son had no reason to commit
suicide, calling him a happy teen who got along with his friends.

Yvette Sherman said the idea her son committed suicide never
crossed her mind.

"I am a mother trying to find my way to grieve my son, and I
find myself in a tremendous fight to clear his name and preserve
his legacy," she said.

Ray Sherman, the receivers coach for the Packers, said he blamed
himself for his son's death and planned to advocate gun safety for

"This is a very painful reality for me," he said. "I take
full responsibility for what happened. I had guns in my house. They
were not properly locked up or put away. Ray was not educated on
gun safety."