Prosecutors in Cleveland want to revoke a $100,000 bond for convicted killer Robert Girts, claiming the 59-year-old former Vienna funeral director poses a major risk to his fourth wife and does not have permission to reside outside of Brookfield.
It's the second time since August that prosecutors requested bond revocation for the Poland native whose murder convictions were twice overturned in the death of his third wife. Diane Girts, 42, a one-time manager at Dollar Bank's Liberty branch, was poisoned when potassium cyanide was sprinkled on her pasta salad 20 years ago.
Girts, who resided in Parma at the time, was convicted in 1993 of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison for the death. Girts said his wife committed suicide with the poison he obtained to kill groundhogs that were terrorizing his dogs.
That trial led to the exhumation of the body of his first wife, who died at age 25 in 1977. No evidence was produced to declare that death the result of any foul play.
An appellate court reversed the murder conviction in 1994, citing an improper jailhouse confession. He was convicted again in a 1995 retrial, which also was reversed by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.
The court ordered in 2007 that Girts be released because prosecutors failed to try him a third time within 180 days of the decision.
Meanwhile, Cuyahoga prosecutors say Girts is a risk to his fourth wife after a dispute between the couple led to his arrest for criminal mischief last week in Geneva-on-the-Lake. He faces arraignment Thursday in Ashtabula County Court on the mischief charge filed after police there said he trespassed in the home of his wife's daughter Nov. 26.
Police said Girts had been staying with his wife and she locked him out after they argued. Prosecutors in Cleveland said Girts didn't threaten his wife, but he was not permitted to be in her daughter's home.
Prosecutors also accused Girts of living in Ashtabula County, when he had informed the court that he lived in Brookfield.
Girts' bond revocation hearing that started Monday was continued until Dec. 12 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Girts' wife, Ruth, wants a no-contact order restored after she requested it be lifted, allowing both to talk on the phone and visit each other once a week.
That arrangement came after a judge in Cleveland imposed the order in August when Ruth Girts claimed she was threatened, triggering an earlier bond revocation hearing.
The woman told Brookfield police Aug. 5 that she was forced to quit her job at a Farrell, Pa., hospital, after threats from her husband. She said her husband was stalking her and threatened to kill her if she left him.
Brookfield police went to Robert Girts' residence, where he allowed them to search the house for Ruth. She was not there, according to police.
Girts said he had last seen her that day on state Route 11 to give her a paycheck, and that he texted her several times since but had not heard from her.
Police noticed several suitcases in the living room.
Police were able to contact Ruth Girts, who confirmed she had quit her job because of threats from her husband.
The report says she sounded upset and stated she was hiding from Girts and refused to tell police her whereabouts but that she was with her daughter and she was OK.
She advised police of Girts' past, and it was the first they learned of his murder convictions. Ruth Girts also advised that her husband had a firearm in his house. No charges were filed against Girts.
Brookfield then notified Cuyahoga County, which requested a state emergency motion to revoke bond.
Besides the no-contact order, the court ordered Girts to limit his travel between Mahoning County, since his latest address was listed in Poland, and Cuyahoga County, only for medical and court appointments.