Suspect In Westerville Police Killings Will Face Death Penalty Charges

Mar 23, 2018

The man accused of fatally shooting two Westerville Police officers has been indicted on charges that carry the possibility of a death sentence.

Authorities say that on February 10, 31 year-old Quentin Smith fired on the officers at his Westerville home, where the officers were responding to a domestic violence call. Eric Joering, 39, died at the scene, while Anthony Morelli, 54, died at a nearby hospital.

Smith was shot and wounded during the incident, and was hospitalized for several days.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien announced the indictment Friday on aggravated murder charges. The case is eligible for the death penalty because police officers were killed in the line of duty.

"In any case, we make sure that the victims and the victim survivors are in accord with us seeking the death penalty," O'Brien said. "That doesn't control what we want to do, but at least we like to know the views of the victim's family. without quoting them, at least I think I can say the indictment that was returned has their support."

Smith is being held without bail, after prosecutors characterized him as a danger to the community. Smith as previously convicted of burglary and was prevented by law from having a weapon.

Gerald Lawson of Cleveland was arrested by police on February 12, and is charged with buying the handgun that Smith used in the shooting.

The Associated Press left a message with Smith's attorney.