PRESS RELEASE, 7/16/2008

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters urges the public to voice their opposition to the possible parole of Francis Smith, Jr

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters is asking the public to join him in voicing their opposition to the possible parole of Francis Smith, Jr.

In 1989, Smith kidnapped and robbed Mary (Tia) Ruehlman, wife of Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman, as she and her five month-old daughter were leaving a Western Hills store. In a particularly vicious and chilling attack, Smith hid in Mrs. Ruehlman's van while she and her daughter were inside the store. When they returned to the van, Smith pistol whipped Mrs. Ruehlman, put her in a choke hold and demanded that she drive away. While she was driving the van, Smith forced Mrs. Ruehlman to drive faster by holding the loaded weapon to her baby's stomach. Mrs. Ruehlman seized the opportunity when she pulled near some people, to grab her baby and jump out of the van to safety. The defendant fled the scene and discarded his loaded gun in a local amusement park frequented by small children. The gun was later recovered and testing revealed Mrs. Ruehlman's blood and hair on the weapon.

Smith has a lengthy record with the criminal justice system and was out on parole when he committed the offenses against Mrs. Ruehlman and her baby.

In August, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority will be considering Smith for parole. Prosecutor Deters urges the community to voice their opposition to Smith's possible parole by visiting his web site at HCPROS.ORG and clicking on the parole watch section. The public may also direct correspondence to Cynthia Mauser, Parole Board Chair, Adult Parole Authority, 1050 Freeway Drive, North, Columbus, Ohio 43229 or call them at 614-752-1200. Prosecutor Deters commented, "It is imperative that the public help us keep Francis Smith behind bars. He should never see the light of day. But for the quick thinking and brave actions of Tia Ruehlman, we could be asking you to help us keep a murderer behind bars."