Update: Mitchell Ruble appeal denied according to Washington County Sheriff's office

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Update: 8/15/2017 10:50 A.M.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office has been notified that Mitchell Ruble's appeal was denied for the 1981 death of Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Ruble was found guilty of the murder on March 11, 2016 and was sentenced to life in prison.

The ruling to deny Ruble's appeal of his conviction was made by Judges for the Fourth District Ohio Court of Appeals on August 9, 2017.


Update: 5/18/2017 6:40 P.M.

Mitchell Ruble died in prison three months ago.

But the appeal of his conviction, for the death of a Washington County deputy, is still pending.

The appeal, which was filed before his death, was heard Thursday in Athens County.

Judges for the Fourth District Ohio Court of Appeals heard arguments as to whether his conviction will stand, now that he is deceased.

Ruble's attorneys argue evidence not presented in the trial should have been included as part of the testimony.

That includes what they say is evidence about the prosecutors' key witness, Robert Smithberger.

Ruble was found guilty in March, 2016, for the 1981 death of Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

He was later sentenced to life in prison.

A ruling on the appeal has not yet been issued.


UPDATE 2/18/17 8:30p.m.

Mitchell Ruble, the man convicted in the death of Washington County deputy Ray Clark, has died in prison.

Sheriff Larry Mincks says Ruble died last night in his sleep at a prison in Boise, Idaho. Ruble was serving a life sentence after being found guilty of aggravated murder in the 1981 death of Lt. Ray Clark.

Ruble's family has been notified of Ruble's death by officials with the Idaho Correctional Facility.


UPDATE 4/28/16 10:47 AM

Mitchell Ruble gets life in prison for aggravated murder of a Washington County Sheriff's Deputy in February, 1981.

Before Ruble was sentenced for aggravated murder, he entered a guilty plea to a weapons charge.

That was related to the seizure of weapons from Ruble's home, after his arrest in 2014.

Prosecutors said Ruble showed no remorse for the death of Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark, for which he originally entered a "not guilty" plea after his arrest.

Ruble's attorney said that's because he maintains his innocence, that he doesn't show remorse.

Before the sentencing Thursday morning, Clark's brother said he forgave Ruble.

" As a Christian, I have to forgive him. It's hard to do, but I know that vengeance is God's and it's not mine," Bob Clark said in a statement to the court. "So as the Lord's Prayer says, I forgive him. He doesn't have to answer to me, he has to answer to God."

Ron Rees, a family member, said Clark's loss extended to the family he never knew.

"Joe and I talked about grandchildren and he looked forward to all the great things he would do with them," Rees said. "He would have been there for the baseball games, the cross country meets, the high school and college graduations and all the other things grandparents enjoy. They all would have the chance to look over and see them smiling at their success. But these three young men have also had something precious stolen from them. They will never experience the proud smile and support of their grandfather."

Ruble was sentenced to 11 months for the weapons charge. That will be served at the same time as the life sentence.


UPDATE 3/11/16 2:50 PM

The jury finds Mitchell Ruble guilty of aggravated murder.

Ruble's sentencing is set for april 28th.

In a statement, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called the Clark murder one of the oldest cold cases of its kind involving a murder of a law enforcement officer that was successfully prosecuted.



UPDATE 3/10/16 1:08 PM

Thursday afternoon, the jury in the Mitchell Ruble murder trial began deliberating.


UPDATE 3/9/16 10:14 AM

The state rested its case against Mitchell Ruble Wednesday morning. The defense rested in the afternoon after presenting four witnesses.
Ruble, again, did not take the stand.


UPDATE 3/2/16 10:39 AM

Testimony began Wednesday morning in the re-trial of Mitchell Ruble.

You can watch the trial play out in real-time by watching our livestream. That link is posted next to this article under "Related Links."


Week two of the Mitchell Ruble murder trial begins, with the prosecution's key witness taking the stand: a man both sides agree... was with ruble the night of Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark's murder.

Robert Smithberger underwent lengthy cross-examination about his statements to law enforcement investigators and prosecutors, that led to him changing his story about the night of February 7, 1981: the night Clark was murdered.

Those statements included not only the shooting of Lt. Clark, of which Ruble is accused, but also Smithberger's whereabouts that night, and what happened to the shotgun believed used in the shooting.

Smithberger said he was persuaded to give his side of the story. only after being granted security under the Witness Protection Act.

"When they said to you, 'if you tell us these things, we'll let you go back into your house', did you tell them?", Prosecutor Daniel Breyer asked Smithberger.

Smithberger's answer was no.

" But you still went back into your house? Yes."

" Were you on Cole Coffman road the night Joe Clark was killed?" Yes.

" Were you on Dodds Run Road the night Joe Clark was killed?" Yes.

" And was Mitch Ruble with you that night on Dodds Run Road?" Yes.

He says, even now, he is afraid of Mitchell Ruble, who he says told him not to talk about the shooting, under the threat of being killed.
Smithberger says even being granted immunity from prosecution didn't initally change his mind.

Prosecutors say Smithberger lied to investigators who interviewed him after the shooting, and to a grand jury looking into the case in the late 1990's.


Penny Howard was with Ruble and key witness Robert Smithberger on the day ending with the shooting death of Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark.

The three spent the day in Grantsville for military support training.
she says Ruble that day talked about killing Clark, but did not want to make him a martyr.

Howard added Ruble often spoke about Clark after he was fired as a deputy, and not in complimentary terms.

"Did he ever blame anyone for his termination?", Prosecutor Daniel Breyer asked Howard.

"Lieutenant Joe Clark," she responded. "Mitch Ruble hated Joe Clark...every conversation we had, whenever Joe's name came up, Mitch talked about how he hated him."

Former deputy Jack Taylor interviewed ruble almost two months after the shooting.

In a recording played for the jury, Ruble denied killing Clark, and did not hear about the murder until the day after it happened.

Ruble said it was upsetting he was considered a suspect, and that he "had no reason to lie".

About Ruble's association with Smithberger, Taylor recalled, Smithberger was a "follower" of Ruble. Howard said he "looked up to Ruble", adding, "if Ruble said jump, Smithberger would say, 'how high?'".


Day two of the Mitchell Ruble murder retrial focuses on not the who, but the where, of the prosecutions allegations...

Henry Pataky, a homicide investigator, examined the footprints found outside the home of Lt. Ray Clark in February, 1981.

Responding to lengthy questioning by the defense, he described the footprints as that of a "military style boot".

Shooting suspect Mitchell Ruble served in the National Guard, which included training the weekend of Clark's shooting.

Pataky used those footprints to describe the flight of the suspect, after Clark was shot to death.

"I'm assuming the shooter went back up that direction because that where the running was," Pataky told the trial jury Thursday. "The shoe prints started in that direction. The theory was the shooter ran in that direction, because of the shoe impression...and the stride."

There also were several witnesses the night of the shooting.
one described seeing Clark watching television at his home, just before she heard a gunshot in the area.

Most saw a blue car in the area...most of them described as a Ford Pinto, although some said they saw a Chevrolet Vega or Chevette.

Former deputies also testified on the shooting and of the dismissal of Ruble as a sheriff's deputy 14 months earlier.

A deputy who interviewed Ruble just after the shooting, said ruble told him he spent the night of February seventh at friend Robert Smithberger's home, after the two had completed National Guard training in Grantsville, West Virginia.


35 years later, a former deputy is on trial for the death of his former lieutenant-for the second time. And the start of the re-trial began much like the first.

Prosecutors told of the events leading up to Lieutenant Ray "Joe" Clark's death in early 1981.

Less than 14 months earlier, Sgt. Mitchell Ruble had been dismissed from the Washington County Sheriff's Department, after an incident where he struck and threatened a suspect arrested after a breaking and entering in New Matamoras.

"This assault was investigated by Lieutenant Ray Joe Clark," said state's attorney Daniel Breyer. "And on December, 7th, 1979, Joe Clark informed this defendant, Mr. Ruble, that he was under suspension, and that suspension would lead to his termination."

A former deputy on duty with ruble at the time, testified Lt. Clark interviewed him about the incident a short time later.

It should be noted it was then-Washington County Sheriff Richard Ellis, and not Clark, who fired Ruble a few days afterward.

Prosecutors say the evidence points to ruble as the man who fired the shot that killed Clark.

Ruble's attorneys, however, say that evidence is inconsistent.

Before opening statements, the newly-selected jury viewed the location where Clark was shot to death, in February of 1981.


Update: 3/01/2016 5:40 P.M.

Testimony expected to begin Wednesday morning, in the re-trial of Mitchell Ruble.

For the second day, the slow process of selecting a 12-member jury continued.

Wednesday morning, the newly-selected jury is scheduled to view the location where Lieutenant Ray Clark, of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, was shot to death in February of 1981.

Opening statements are expected to begin by 10 A.M.

This is Ruble's second trial in four months on the accusations.
The first trial last fall ended with the jury failing to reach a verdict.


Update: 2/29/2016 4:45 P.M.

Day one of jury selection in the re-trial of Mitchell Ruble.

Right now, it looks like Wednesday is the earliest testimony will begin.

Prospective jurors have been questioned throughout the day, one by one, in Judge Randall Burnworth's chambers.

In spite of warnings by the judge's office after Ruble's first trial last October, court bailiff Renee Marshall says 30 people failed to show up for jury duty Monday morning.

At the first trial, 50 failed to show, prompting the judge to remind the public failure to report for jury duty in any court case could result in a fine or even jail time.

The October trial ended with a jury failing to reach a decision as to whether Ruble killed Lieutenant Ray Clark in February of 1981.

The trial, when testimony actually begins, is expected to take two weeks.

100 prospective jurors were summoned Monday, and another 50 are to be questioned Tuesday.

Ruble, held on $2.5 million bond, could face life in prison if convicted this time.

When testimony begins, we once again plan to show streaming live video of the court proceedings at www.thenewscenter.tv.


Update: 2/26/2016, 5:15 P.M.

The re-trial of a man accused of killing a Washington County sheriff's deputy begins next week.

And we've learned of some changes in the testimony this time.

Ruble's attorneys have filed notice the defendant plans to make public an explanation, or alibi, of where he was at the time Lieutenant Ray Clark was shot to death 35 years ago this month.

Ruble did not take the stand during his first trial in October, which ended with the jury failing to reach a verdict.

This time, he intends to do so, saying he was at the home of Robert Smithberger, the alleged driver of the car in which law enforcement officials say he left the shooting scene.

When the trial begins Monday, with jury selection, there will once again be increased security at Washington County Common Pleas Court.

"Everyone will be going through a magnetometer, and we also have a wand to check if you have any type of metal on your person," says Sheriff Larry Mincks. "We're screening everybody going in and out."

Sheriff Mincks says the measures are being taken for the security of everyone involved in the trial.

They'll be basically the same as security during Ruble's first trial last fall.


UPDATE: 12/17/2015 3:11 PM

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Judge Burnworth has denied the motion to reduce Mitchell Ruble's $2.5 million bond. Ruble will remain in the Washington County Jail.

The defense filed another motion Thursday asking the court to order the state to turnover any property already seized from Ruble's home from September of 2014.

The judge accepted that motion.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says they are required to return some of Ruble's weapons on a case by case basis.


UPDATE 12/17/15 10:55 AM

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - A judge is expected to decide Thursday whether to reduce bond for Mitchell Ruble.

Ruble is accused of killing Washington County Lieutenant Ray Clark 34 years ago.

Following a mistrial in October, he was sent back to jail on a $2.5 million bond.

During a hearing Thursday morning, Ruble's attorney requested that bond be lowered and his seized property returned to his family.

The judge is expected to issue a decision in writing later in the day.


UPDATE 12/16/2015 5:13 PM

MARIETTA, OHIO (WTAP) - Accused killer, Mitchell Ruble, will return to the courtroom once again Thursday morning, but this time it's for a bond hearing.

Ruble is accused of killing Lt. Ray Clark in his home 34 years ago.

You may remember back in October the court declared a mistrial after a deadlocked jury.

Ruble returned to the Washington County Jail on a $2.5 million bond.

The defense is now asking for a bond reduction and requesting house arrest. They argue, Ruble's pension might forfeit, he has no adult record and that some jurors said there wasn't enough evidence to convict Ruble of murder.

The hearing is Thursday morning at the Washington County Courthouse.

UPDATE: 11/23/2015 5:14 PM

Two months ago hundreds of Washington County residents received jury summons for the Mitchell Ruble murder trial, but prosecutors and the defense had trouble selecting a jury after several didn't show up.

Officials say this is the first time Judge Randy Burnworth's court had to serve those who failed to appear. Nearly 50 potential jurors never showed up for that jury duty.

Now all of those residents will have to stand before Judge Burnworth and explain why they shouldn't be held in contempt of court.

Each case will be handled individually. If one of them doesn't appear again, there could be a warrant out for their arrest.

UPDATE: 11/13/2015 4:58 PM

Charged with killing a Washington County Deputy, Mitchell Ruble gets another trial date. Ruble is accused of shooting Lt. Ray Clark in his home 34 years ago.

Ruble's October trial ended with a hung jury and now the prosecution and defense will retry the case in hopes of getting a verdict.

The trial is rescheduled for February 29, 2016 in Judge Randy Burnworth's court.

As of now, Ruble will be represented by his same counsel. A motion to reduce his bond has not yet been filed by the defense.

UPDATE: 10/20/2015 9:12 PM

A shocking outcome for a high profile murder case. Jurors deliberated for more than 13 hours, looking at 72 pieces of evidence. In a six to six split vote, the jury remained at a deadlock, a hung jury, unable to agree on a verdict.

It's a significant disagreement, one that could not find Mitchell Ruble guilty or not guilty.

When the decision was announced, the prosecutors, the defense, the families and the investigators all had a look of disappointment painted across their faces.

Ruble's family, the Clark family, the Cold Case Squad and the Washington County Sheriff's Office all denied interviews with our cameras, but the defense attorney's had this to say:

"We're disappointed because we thought the information and the evidence presented to the jury more than justified finding him not guilty. We don't criticize the jury, they did what they're suppose to do, hopefully when the second trial occurs, sometime I think in the next 3 or 4 months, that there will be a different outcome and it will be an acquittal," says defense attorney, James Burdon.

The state says they respect the jury's hard work on this case and their thoughtful deliberations and they do anticipate retrying this case.

The next step for this murder trial is setting up a pre-trial and each party hopes to retry this case with a completely new jury.

Ruble will remain in custody at the Washington County Jail.


UPDATE 10/20/2015 7:11 PM

Judge Burnworth says a verdict can't be reached in the Mitchell Ruble murder trial.


UPDATE 10/20/2015 7:00 PM

Jurors are expected to hand down a verdict soon in the Mitchell Ruble murder trial.


UPDATE 10/19/2015 2:08 PM

Monday marks the third week of the Mitchell Ruble murder trial and it began with closing arguments from both sides. Deliberations are now underway.

The state presented their closing statements first, asking jurors to convict Ruble of the murder of Lieutenant Ray Clark, saying justice has been delayed for over 34 years.

The defense also made their closing arguments. Ruble's attorney talks about the inconsistency within witness statements.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Monday until they reach a verdict. If found guilty, Ruble faces life in prison.

We'll have the latest tonight at 5 and 6 p.m. on our newscasts. .As soon as there is a verdict, we'll be sure to let you know.


UPDATE: 10/15/2015 5:24 PM

Week two of the Mitchell Ruble murder trial wrapped up Thursday as both the prosecution and defense rested their case in the same day.

The defense had a very short list of witnesses with only three testimonies. Those testimonies included a composite drawing sketch artist, a private forensic and Mitchell Ruble's brother, Mark Ruble.

Mark testified that Mitch never had possession of said gun that killed Lt. Ray Clark, saying it was in his possession.

The forensic consultant took the stand to say that any 12-gauge gun could have fired a number 4 buck shot shell which is what investigators collected at the scene.

Trial will resume Monday with closing arguments from both sides. From there, the jury will begin deliberating.

If Ruble is found guilty of murder he could face life in prison. He will not be facing the death penalty as it was banned in Ohio during the time of his hearing, but that ban has since been reinstated.


UPDATE: 10/15/2015 5:27 PM

The most important testimony from Wednesday, was Bruce Schuck's, an investigator with the Washington County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Squad.

He took the stand to talk about his interview with Bob Smithberger, the driver of the getaway car. After obtaining the full story from Smithberger, officials say Mitchell Ruble was arrested for the murder of Lt. Ray Clark.

Ruble was taken to the Sheriff's office in September of last year as investigators questioned him for three hours.

Jurors saw the interrogation video in the courtroom and listened as Ruble repeatedly denied any involvement with the shooting death of Lt. Clark.

Ruble's story was fairly consistent with his story 30 years ago, but it didn't match up with witness testimonies or Smithberger's.

The prosecution will rest their case Thursday and the defense will begin calling their witnesses to the stand.


UPDATE: 10/13/2015 5:34 PM

In what could be one of the most important testimonies in this trial, Jurors heard testimony from the driver of the getaway car Tuesday, Bob Smithberger to recall the day Lt. Ray Clark was murdered.

Smithberger was silent for over 30-years, telling police he had no involvement in the shooting. It wasn't until last year when investigators approached him multiple times, promising him transactional immunity, meaning he cannot be charged for anything as well as witness protection.

Smithberger testified that Mitchell Ruble went to his house the night of February 7, 1981 saying, "lets go kill a lieutenant."

Ruble asked to borrow a certain shotgun, a gun that broke down into two pieces. Officials say he draped it around his neck, hiding it with his jacket.

After the shooting incident Smithberger says he didn't know what happened, but Ruble threatened his life.

"He threatened me that I can never say anything about where we were, what we did that night, what I did...picked him up and where I took him. And while I was driving a standard shift jeep, he basically grabbed my arm and squeezed and twisted it very hard and said you can never say anything or I'll have to kill you," says Smithberger.

Since that fateful night, Smithberger has been living in fear. He feared for his life and his families lives, telling jurors he's still scared sitting here today.

Smithberger may be called to the witness stand a second time, but he is not allowed to be photographed.


UPDATE 10/09/2015 10:33 PM

TheNewsCenter is livestreaming the unfolding Mitchell Ruble murder trial.

Click on the link under the tab "Related Links" next to this article to watch it.

WTAP has not been permitted to place a microphone on the witness stand, so the audio quality is not what the station would prefer it to be.

Due to our newscasts and recesses, the livestream may not be up at every moment during each day of the trial.


UPDATE 10/08/2015 6:30 PM

More witnesses take the stand in the Mitchell Ruble murder trial to recall the day Lieutenant Ray Joe Clark was allegedly shot in his own home.

Some say they heard the shotgun. Others said they saw the getaway car.

Some of those called to the stand were just in their early teens the night of the murder, trying hard to remember details from 34 years ago.

There's one thing each witness is consistent and that is the description of the car found at the scene of the crime.


UPDATE 10/07/2015 1:08 PM

Wednesday, state prosecutors and defense attorneys for Mitchell Ruble started the trial with opening statements.

Prosecutors gave a full recap on the day of the shooting.

They talked about a key witness that helped them solve this murder mystery that was granted immunity and full protection.

Prosecutors allege Ruble killed Lieutenant Ray Clark, while defense attorneys say Ruble was never involved.

The state called three witnesses to testify: a rescue squad responder, an EMT and the first deputy on the scene to recall the events of that night.

Fifty-one additional witnesses are expected to take the stand in the upcoming days of the trial.


UPDATE 10/7/2015 12:20 PM

Opening statements were made Wednesday morning in the murder trial of Mitchell Ruble.

Ruble, a former Washington County deputy, is charged in the killing of Lt. Ray Clark in 1981.

One witness also took the stand Wednesday morning.

We have a reporter in the courtroom and we'll bring you updates as they're available.


UPDATE: 10/6/2015 6:35 PM

It's a high profile case in Washington County, the trial of Mitchell Ruble, a former Washington County deputy accused of killing Lt. Ray Clark in 1981.

Officials anticipate a long trial which could take up to 3 weeks long, but they had a hard time seating the jury as we're told a very low number of jurors showed up.

Washington County judges typically send jury notices out four to six weeks in advance. If you don't show up you'll receive a warning letter from the bailiff stating you'll be held in contempt of court if you don't show up for the next jury duty. If you're a "no show" again, you could face a fine or jail time.

One Washington County judge says this doesn't usually happen in our area.

"In Washington County jurors tend to show up. I think it's a good learning opportunity for jurors to learn about the law, how court systems work, I think I hear more people after serving jury duty saying I'd do it again or I learned a lot," says Judge Ed Lane.

Jurors in Washington County receive $10 a day with free parking.

Officials tells us after two days of selecting a jury, a jury has been set for the trial. The jury box consists of 7 women and 5 men ages19 to 73-years-old.

Opening statements are expected to start Wednesday morning.


Update: 10/06/15

Jury selection in Mitchell Ruble's murder trial started Monday, October 5th.

The selection process will continue Tuesday.

Ruble is accused of murdering Washington County Deputy Ray "Joe" Clark in 1981.

Originally arrested in 2014 Ruble remains in jail on a $2.5 Million bond.

The trial date was changed three times before beginning Monday.


10/02/2015 7:25 P.M.

A major trial begins Monday in Marietta, and security will be tighter than usual.

The trial of Mitchell Ruble begins Monday with jury selection.

He's accused of the murder of Washington County deputy Ray "Joe" Clark nearly 35 years ago....

And once testimony begins, there's expected to be a lot of interest.

"We expect a lot of people coming into the courtroom to watch all of it or part of it, depending on the testimony of people coming in to testify," says Maj. Brian Schuck of the sheriff's office. "So, we're going to heighten security by bringing in a metal detector for people to walk through, to get into the courtroom to be able to view this."

It's not the first time there's been added security for a Washington County trial.

People who attended the 1997 murder trial of Ohio HIghway Patrol Trooper Jackie McCray also had to go through metal detectors before entering the courtroom.


UPDATE 4/28/2015 5:22 PM

The trial date has been changed three times now., but officials say this time it's a firm trial date, set for October 5th. The original trial date was May 11th.

Defendant Mitchell Ruble and his attorney, James Burdon, filed a motion to continue the trial. They say there is a tremendous volume of evidence and they need more time to prepare in order to get a fair trial.

"Well obviously this is a very important matter, the prosecution has given to us an initial discovery of over 15,000 documents collected over the last 35 years. That alone would be reason to take several months to prepare. The amount of information, though it may not be relevant has to be reviewed by us," says defense attorney, James Burdon.

Officials tell us the prosecution did not object to the filed motion and that they also recognize the need to have more time in this criminal case.

There will be two special prosecutors called in for this case from the Ohio Attorney General's Office.


UPDATE 2/3/2015 4:00 PM

A trial date is set for a former Washington County deputy charged with murder.

Former deputy Mitchell Ruble pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of dangerous ordinance, illegal manufacture or processing of explosives and attempted illegal manufacture or processing of explosives.

His trial on those charges and the aggravated murder charge is set for May 11.

Ruble is accused in the 1981 murder of Lieutenant Ray Clark.

Authorities say when searching Ruble's home they found a modified AR-15 rifle, hand grenades and other explosives.


UPDATE 1/30/2015 7:00 PM

New indictments were handed down for the man previously indicted in the murder or a Washington County Deputy. Mitchell R. Ruble was indicted last year for the 1981 murder of Lieutenant Ray Clark.

Today, Ruble indicted on seven more charges. The indictments facing Ruble today include five counts of unlawful possession of dangerous ordinance, one count of illegal manufacture or processing of explosives, and one count of attempted illegal manufacture of processing of explosives. Now, to get a bit of clarification on what those charges exactly pertained to, WTAP spoke to Lieutenant Jeffrey T. Seevers who serves in the Washington County Cold Case unit, and was a key part of this case.

"We recovered an AR-15, which had been converted to make it a fully automatic weapon. Some of the other things we recovered... We found, I think it was like five grenade bodies, twenty-three fuses, blasting caps, black powder. He had everything that you would need to make a grenade."

In the reopened murder investigation, there were two potential suspects that interested the Washington County Sheriffs Department. The second suspect was the key to cracking the then twenty-three year-old case; revealing ruble's role in the murder to investigators.

It should be noted that these seven new charges are in addition to the aggravated murder charge filed in 2014. That case was just the second taken on by the then newly-formed cold case squad. That unit, alongside the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Washington and Morgan Major Crimes Task Force were able to uncover all of the items that led to Friday's indictments.



UPDATE 10/9/2014 4:45 PM

Mitchell Ruble remains in jail for now.

His lawyers tried to make a case to reduce his bond, but Judge Burnworth denied it.

The prosecution says they hope to file 23 additional charges and file a motion for no bond in this case.

Ruble's bond is still set at $2.5 million.

The defense called Thursday's hearing a motion to modify the bond, after being denied the ability to do so at Ruble's plea hearing.

The defense stayed with the argument that Ruble has no criminal record and again said bond should be lowered to $100,000.

The defense added examples of his character and that they would agree to any ankle monitoring

"I think with experience one might anticipate the ruling that was made by the judge. But it's an effort that should be made and I think it was justified," says James Burdon, defense lead council.

"We are still presenting new evidence and in the near future we are hoping to add additional charges in reference to what we found in the search warrant," says Jeff Seevers, with the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Those charges are an additional 23 counts of a weapon violation, stemming from the search warrant executed at Ruble's home.

Those being dangerous ordinances, which is illegally manufacturing or processing explosives and one illegal weapon.

Ruble retained a second attorney, James Burdon, who will be the lead council.

The judge is reviewing those charges.

The trial date was moved to February 2.

The defense says there is a possibility the trial could be moved out of the county; however, they are not looking into that just yet.

The law says you have to attempt to select a jury first, before making a motion.


UPDATE 10/09/2014 3:15 PM

Former Washington County Deputy Mitchell Ruble, charged in the 1981 death of Lt. Ray Joe Clark, appeared in court again Thursday.

This time, it was a hearing to modify bond.

The judge denied the motion to modify Ruble's bond, which is currently set at $2.5 million.

Additionally, the prosecution presented new evidence, which is being reviewed.

Additional charges are expected to be filed against Ruble.

Currently he's charged with aggravated murder.


UPDATE 9/25/2014 5:45 PM

Mitchell Ruble pleaded not guilty during a very short arraignment Thursday.

Both families were present in the courtroom and there was a lot of security.

Ruble pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder.

Ruble is charged in the murder of Lt. Joe Clark, 33 years ago.

The office arrested Ruble last week and conducted a search warrant on his home, saying they found hundreds of rounds of ammunition and explosives, some of which the Columbus bomb squad had to detonate on sight.

Ruble's bond is currently set at $2.5 million.

Just last week the state asked for a $4 million bond and the defense only $100,000.

Thursday the defense stressed again that such a high bond is unreasonable.

"We are sticking not guilty because he didn't do the crime. My client has always lived in this area, he's lived an honorable and productive life. And we think a more reasonable bond would be somewhere around the area of $100,000. We are also going to agree to any kind of ankle monitoring that the court would impose as well," says Eric Fowler, the defense attorney.

The defense attorney tried to argue bond Thursday but the judge denied him, saying he has to schedule another hearing for Friday or next week, which the defense says they will do.

Right now, the pre-trial is set for October 29th at 2:30 and the trial is set for December 8th.

But both the defense and prosecution say it most likely will be pushed back.


UPDATE 9/25/2014 1:50 PM

Former Washington County Deputy Mitchell Ruble pleaded not guilty Thursday in the 1981 death of Lt. Ray Joe Clark.

His pre-trial is set for October 29.

His trial is set for December 8.


UPDATE 9/18/2014 5:00 PM

A cold case team is an important tool in solving cases such as Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark's murder.

Washington County's cold case squad was put together in 2011.

The director, Jeff Seevers, says Sheriff Larry Mincks came to him about the idea and since then two other agents have come on board.

Lt. Clark's case was not the first case they looked into, either.

Working with Seevers, agent Jon Jenkins from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Bruce Schuck, a special deputy with the sheriff's office started first on a case which went unsolved for four years and then moved to the Clark case.

Seevers says they only work on one case at a time.

It takes a lot of work and focus finding evidence and cracking cases decades old.

"Most of these cold cases are so complex that it can't be an individual working it for a couple days and then he's got other responsibilities or other cases and stuff. You almost have to dedicate 100 percent of your time and resources to it and that was probably the big reason why he decided to form the unit," says Seevers.

And their job continues.

The three agents have a list of cases they want to work on next.

The squad answers directly to Sheriff Mincks and only to him.

Seevers says he, Jenkins and Schuck do it for the victims' families, to try give them an answer.


UPDATE 9/17/2014 5:00 PM

Former Washington County Deputy Mitchell Ruble makes his first court appearance, charged with aggravated murder in the 1981 shooting of Washington County Lieutenant Ray Clark.

A key witness remains under police protection.

Thirty-three years later this cold case murder takes the first step into the courtroom.

Wednesday this investigation kept digging into Mitchell Ruble's home with a search warrant.

But that suddenly stopped Wednesday morning when the sheriff's office decided to call in the Columbus bomb squad after finding explosives in the home.

The sheriff, his detectives, the prosecutor and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation told us more about how they built the case Wednesday morning.

Officials say the bomb squad found explosives at Ruble's home which needed to be detonated.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says the bomb squad dug a hole in the ground and set them off around 4:00 Wednesday afternoon.

We were asked to leave the scene Wednesday.

Wednesday morning a press conference with the head of the cold case squad and the county prosecutor led us deeper into this investigation.

Lt. Ray Joe Clark was shot by a shotgun through his kitchen window back in Feburary of 1981.

His murder has now gone unsolved for 33 years.

Mitchell Ruble was arrested, charged and indicted for aggravated murder Tuesday evening in the death of Lt. Clark.

Lt. Clark fired Ruble around a year and a half before the murder.

Clark fired Ruble for assaulting someone under custody and authorities say everyone knew Clark didn't like Ruble.

But about 6 hours before the murder occurred authorities say there was a trigger - something set Ruble off - and that is why he shot and killed Clark.

It was this cold case squad that tracked down a witness - a witness they say is under police protection and they are not identifying him.

Police say it was this witness that gave them enough evidence, including confirming a code phrase used by Ruble and another and details about the getaway car.

We had the chance to talk with part of Lt. Clark's family Wednesday morning.

They say it's the feeling of justice.

For 33 years, they have been keeping their eyes and ears open for every clue possible.

It's something that always comes up when the family gets together and the cold case squad gave them hope again.

They feel the authorities got the right suspect and are ready to see the prosecution.

Many of Clark's family members continued to work in law enforcement.

The family says his death didn't scare them out of it, rather it inspired them.

Ruble's family was at the bond hearing Wednesday and they declined to comment.

The judge set bond at $2.5 million.

A lot, but less than what the prosecution wanted.

The state wanted a $4 million bond.

Special prosecutors from the attorney general's office are presenting the case.

They described Ruble as a danger to the community and especially to the witnesses involved.

They also cited the weapons and explosives found at Ruble's home.

Still, the defense asked for a $100,000 bond, based on Ruble having no criminal record.


UPDATE 9/17/2014 3:45 PM

Bond is set at $2.5 million for Mitchell Ruble, accused in the 1981 murder of Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark.

The state asked for $4 million.

The defense asked for $100,000.


UPDATE 9/17/2014 12:15 PM

A bond hearing is set for 3:00 p.m. Wednesday for Mitchell Ruble, accused in the 1981 murder of Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark.

The hearing is being held in Judge Ed Lane's courtroom and a representative from the Ohio Attorney General's Office will be on hand.

An arraignment is planned for next week.

The sheriff's office said Lt. Clark fired Ruble for assaulting someone in custody, and they say revenge was the motive for the murder.

The sheriff's office says a search warrant at Ruble's home turned up what could lead to federal weapons violations.

A Columbus bomb squad was called in to assist.

Sheriff Larry Mincks says Ruble is an avid gun enthusiast with knowledge of explosives.

He says nearly 100 guns were found in Ruble's home, as well as a "tremendous" amount of ammunition.


UPDATE 9/17/2014 10:05 AM

The Washington County Sheriff's Office is holding a news conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. regarding the arrest of a former deputy in a 1981 murder.

Mitchell Ruble of Lowell is accused in the murder of Washington County Sheriff Deputy Lieutenant Ray Joe Clark.

Click on the link to the right to watch LIVE, or watch LIVE on My5 - channel 47.2 over the air and cable channel 97.


Late Tuesday afternoon, the Washington County Sheriff's Office arrested 63-year-old Mitchell Ruble of Lowell, Ohio.

Ruble, a former deputy with the Sheriff's office, is charged with the 1981 murder of Washington County Sheriff Deputy Lieutenant Ray Joe Clark.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says he thinks revenge was the motive for the crime, as Ruble worked as a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff's Office until December 1979, when Lt. Clark fired him for using excessive force while on duty.

Ruble was indicted on aggravated murder charges during a special grand jury Tuesday afternoon.

Deputies are currently questioning Ruble inside the 4th Street office where they arrested him after he came in the office for other reasons.

A search warrant was issued and executed at Ruble's home at 4000 State Route 530. They are searching his home for any evidence related to the murder including a possible weapon.

More details will be posted as soon as they become available.


Ray Clark
Mitchell Ruble


 
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