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Fourth wife hides as murder suspect awaits retrial

Published: Tue, August 14, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

Poland native, convicted in third wife’s death, is accused of threatening to kill current wife

By Denise Dick



A Poland Township native awaiting a third trial for the murder of his third wife returns to court Wednesday after prosecutors asked that his bond be revoked.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors sought the revocation of Robert Girts’ bond last week, a few days after Brookfield Township police conducted a welfare check on Girts’ fourth wife.

The Aug. 5 police report says Brookfield police were contacted by an officer with the Southwest Regional Police in Farrell, Pa., for the check.

The Pennsylvania police officer said the wife’s work supervisor received a call from her, and she abruptly quit her job.

The supervisor told police that the wife, 59, “had called her and told her that she needed to quit her job due to a marital problem with her husband, Robert,” the Brookfield report says.

The supervisor said the wife told her “Robert was stalking her and threatened to kill her if she left him,” it says.

Police went to the South Park Circle home where Girts allowed them to look for his wife, but she wasn’t there. Girts, also 59, told police that he saw her earlier that day to give her her paycheck, and had sent her several text messages since then, but she didn’t respond.

The township police officer contacted Girts’ wife, “who confirmed that she had quit her job as a result of the threats from Robert,” the report says, adding that the woman sounded distraught.

She told police she was hiding from Girts and refused to tell the officer where she was but said she was OK.

No charges were filed.

During an Aug. 9 bond-revocation hearing, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge didn’t revoke Girts’ $100,000 bond but ordered no contact between spouses, court records show.

Girts’ travel also was restricted between Mahoning and Cuyahoga counties for medical and court appointments, the records say.

Girts’ attorney couldn’t be reached Monday.

The bond-revocation hearing continues Wednesday.

Girts, a former undertaker, was convicted in 1993 of aggravated murder in the 1992 death of his third wife, Diane, and was sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said he gave her a fatal dose of potassium cyanide.

That conviction was reversed by a state appeals court in 1994, and in a second trial, Girts was convicted in 1995 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. But the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals later found prosecutorial misconduct in that second trial and reversed the conviction.

The court in 2007 ordered Girts’ release unless the state court granted him a new trial within 180 days of the decision.

Girts wasn’t retried within six months, and in November 2008, he was released from prison pending retrial.

At that time, he was to live in Poland with a relative. Community Corrections Association in Youngstown was to supervise his probation.

Girts’ first wife died young, and her body was exhumed several years later after his third wife’s death. Pathologists couldn’t determine a cause of death but told family members they didn’t detect poison.

Randy Malleske, chief probation officer at CCA, said supervision by the Youngstown agency was done as a courtesy to Cuyahoga County. He said CCA is in the process of returning responsibility for that supervision to Cuyahoga.

Because the supervision is a courtesy, CCA has very little authority over Girts, Malleske said.

“If any other issues come up, they should be the ones supervising him and taking care of all issues from here on out,” he said.

Since his release in late 2008, Girts had been reporting to CCA as required. At first he reported twice monthly, then the judge reduced it to once per month, the chief probation officer said.

Malleske said Girts never mentioned that he had remarried, but whenever Malleske asked Girts about where he was living, Girts said he was at the same Poland Township address.

After last week’s hearing, Girts told Malleske that he was living at both the Poland and Brookfield homes and traveling back and forth between them.

If Girts would have told him of plans to live in two places, Malleske said he would have told him that he couldn’t without permission from the court.


1youngstownsteve(84 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It is amazing that this scumbag has been running the streets free after twice being found guilty of murdering his wife. What the hell is wrong with our court system?

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2molly(20 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

WTf? How is this guy not in prison for LIFE?! # wives! And another one on his hit list! That's not justice. Sorry. This man should not even get to see the light of day.

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3Attis(1119 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

This former undertaker is convicted of murdering two of his former wives; is charged with killing his third wife; and threatens to kill his fourth one. But he is still granted bail and free to roam the streets for his victims. By contrast, seven Amish farmers have been denied bail and rot in an Ohio jail since last November for cutting hair without permission. What the hades is wrong with our justice system?!

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4DaddyD(24 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

You guys he only murdered his 3rd wife. They just kept finding loopholes in the first two convictions so now they are trying him a third time.

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5LtMacGowan(708 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The justice system screwed up. Thats what the appeals courts are there for. I don't believe he should be out either but the courts have got to follow the rules.

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6AnotherAverageCitizen(1183 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Seems there should be a " do not marry this person list"

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7southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Until death do us part is serious business for this guy!

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8ncgirl(3 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

This story hits close to home, since one of Girts murdered wives was my cousin, Diane. Diane was a beautiful person, kind, and gentle. She married late in life. Unfortunately,to a monster. Our family finds it beyond shocking that Girts has been living as a free man all these years in Poland, Oh. And now yet another woman has married him? I am thankful that she is safe. Someone needs to delve into the myserious death of Dianes mother. She was in good health, did not care for Girts, and died quite suddenly. I pray for justice for Diane and her immediate family, who have all since passed away (Red, Thelma, & Barry r.i.p.). There are still a lot of her family around who are very concerned that this animal is free. And, women are not safe as long as he is...Thank you,

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9OldSchool2(20 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Our court system needs investigated, and this case is a glaring example as to why. This monster poisoned his first wife, and all of Poland knows it. How is it possible that our courts have allowed him the opportunity to try to kill wife # 4? It's time for Mahoning county to show some ethics and professionalism and quit letting these people use connections in the system to get away with murder!

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10KP(1 comment)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

As a former classmate and resident of Poland I too am very upset that Bob was ever relaesed. Why was he ever left on the streets again to harm another person, he's s preditor and was set loose to lure in his next victim, how I feel for the familes and friends of these poor victims, may Gods justice be done!!!!! Get him back where he bleongs!!!!!!

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11jcap0319(2 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I just learned from Judge Suster's bailiff that Girts bond was NOT revoked. It's hard to believe that this evil monster can be allowed to continue to run free after his latest escapade.. Who do we contact to get him re-committed to jail?

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12ritchie127(2 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with you jcap!! I live in PA and this guy has NOT been living in Poland OH, he's been living down the street from me in PA in a funeral home ( I assume he works/worked for) And for these people that are supposed to be supervising him and knowing where he is at all times, start doing your job!! He has lived in PA for the last yr, I saw him daily when he was out walking his dog every night!! He did move away recently, maybe because he got married, but theres alot of people in New Brighton PA that are NOT going to feel very safe until this guy is put away because if they didn't know he was living here to begin with, whats to say he doesnt come back.....how would any of them know where he is?? Authorities....go ask the good people on Penn Ave in New Brighton if they know this guy??!! I guarantee you will find what I say to be true!!!

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13ncgirl(3 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Girts has been in the funeral home business for years. Before he killed Diane Jones, we also believe he poisoned the dog she loved. He obviously had to try out the poison before he decided to poison her! I would hate for Dianes mom to be exhumed, but seriously, can someone who is handling this case at least CONSIDER it? Nancy Grace was in the courtroom during one of his trials. Where is she now? He is another Drew Peterson. Can't figure out what women see in him, so he must be a sociopath like Ted Bundy able to manipulate them into believing anything he says! I am so curious where he met the latest wife. Can't believe the judge did not revoke this monsters bail. How many other women has he killed? What will it take for justice to be served in this situation?

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