DEATH PENALTY INDICTMENT FILED ON LINCOLN RUTLEDGE FOR AGGRAVATED MURDER OF SWAT OFFICER STEVEN SMITH AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF 4 OTHER SWAT OFFICERS
Posted on 6/7/2016
Defendant: Lincoln Scott Rutledge
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced today that, “Lincoln Rutledge faces the death penalty for murdering a 27–year veteran of the Columbus Police Department”. The Franklin County Grand Jury has returned an eleven count death penalty indictment on Lincoln Scott Rutledge, age 44, in connection to the April 9th, 2016 Aggravated Arson of 533 Fairlawn Drive and the April 10th, 2016 Aggravated Murder of CPD SWAT Officer Steven M. Smith, age 54, that occurred at 14 W. California Avenue in Clintonville.
The counts in Rutledge’s indictment include the following:
Count 1: Aggravated Arson (F-2) for the fire that was set at his estranged wife’s home on Fairlawn Drive in Clintonville
Counts 2 and 3: Aggravated Murder for the death of Officer Smith (with three Death Penalty Specifications on each count for the murder of a Law Enforcement Officer, the purposeful killing or attempt to kill two or more people, attempting to escape detection and apprehension, and two Firearm Specifications on each count for discharging a firearm at a police officer or officers and the use of a firearm while committing the Aggravated Murder)
Counts 4-11: Attempted Murder (F-1) and Felonious Assault (F-1) each count having two Firearm Specifications for the attempted murder of Officers Dennis J. Prestel, Troy S. Palmer, Glenn D. Thivener, and Enoch (Skip) B. White
“There are two counts of Aggravated Murder for the death of Officer Smith because under Ohio law there are different ways to commit the crime of Aggravated Murder and it is my practice to charge all ways that the crime was committed”, O’Brien stated. Evidence shows that the day before the shooting, Rutledge set his estranged wife’s home on fire. Officers were attempting to serve a warrant on Rutledge at 14 W. California Avenue for the Aggravated Arson, which resulted in a stand-off that lasted for several hours. Officer Smith was shot in the head by Rutledge during the stand-off and died several days later as a result of his gunshot wound. Rutledge fired at several other officers during the stand-off. A second officer was struck in his bullet proof vest but was unharmed. O’Brien commended the Columbus Police Department for their thorough investigation and apprehension of Rutledge. “Officer Smith was an extremely dedicated officer and his death is a tremendous loss to our community”, O’Brien stated. Arraignment for this death penalty case is set for Friday, June 10th, 2016, at 9:30 am in courtroom 6E at 345 South High Street.