COLUMBUS (WCMH) – UPDATE: Quentin Smith, a man accused of killing two Ohio police officers, was found guilty on all counts, including two counts of aggravated murder, Friday.
Smith is eligible for the death penalty. His sentencing begins Monday at 9:30 a.m.
COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After 45 minutes of instructions from the judge, the jury in the aggravated murder trial of Quentin Smith started their deliberations shorty before 9:30 Friday morning.
Smith is charged with aggravated murder in the shooting deaths of Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering on Feb 10, 2018.
Judge Richard Frye provided the jury with definitions of legal terms used in the case including “reasonable doubt” and “purposeful.” He told them that they are not allowed to consider Quentin Smith’s mental illness as part of their deliberations.
The indictment filed against Smith includes two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder and one count of domestic violence. The aggravated murder charges also carry death penalty specifications defined as the purposeful killing of a police officer and the purposeful killing of two or more people.
Morelli and Joering had responded to a 9-1-1 hangup call from the residence of Smith’s wife.
Candace Smith testified during the trial that her husband had punched and choked her that day and that he carried two handguns to the couch next to the door where officers were knocking. She says she told the officers her husband had a gun moments before there was an exchange of gunfire.
The two officers were killed. Quentin Smith was shot five times but survived.
If the jurors convict him of aggravated murder with at least one specification, the case would enter a second phase in which the defense would present information about Smith — known as mitigating factors — in an effort to persuade jurors to spare his life.
The judge told the jurors to elect a foreperson and discouraged them from stating their positions right away. He also cautioned them against discussing anything about the case outside of the jury room.
If the jury finds Smith guilty of aggravated murder and at least one of the specifications, the case will continue into the death penalty phase.
Jurors would then consider what are referred to as mitigating factors such as the defendant’s mental health and childhood in deciding whether or not to recommend the death penalty.