Lawyers: Revoke Girts’ bond

By Denise Dick


For the second time in four months, Cuyahoga County prosecutors are asking a judge to revoke the bond of a Poland native accused in the poisoning death of his third wife.

They say Robert Girts, 59, formerly of Poland, poses “substantial risk of serious physical harm” to his fourth wife and the community, while noting “that the presumption is great that [Girts] committed the aggravated murder he is charged with.”

Margaret Troia, an assistant prosecuting attorney, filed an emergency motion to revoke Robert Girts’ bond after a recent police call. The motion states that “no additional release conditions will reasonably assure the safety of [Girts’ fourth wife] or the community if [Girts] is allowed to remain on release.”

Girts was convicted in 1993 of aggravated murder in the 1992 death of his third wife, Diane, and was sentenced to life in prison. The couple was living in Parma at the time of Diane’s death.

That conviction was reversed by a state appeals court in 1994, and Girts was convicted again in a 1995 second trial.

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals later found prosecutorial misconduct in the 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.

According to the motion filed last week by prosecutors, the daughter of Girts’ fourth wife contacted authorities after Girts was arrested by Geneva-on-the-Lake police Nov. 26 for “trespassing” in the daughter’s home.

Chief Timothy Bruckman of that village’s police department said Girts was staying with his wife; they had a dispute; she locked him out; and he tried to get back in. The woman called police and Girts was charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.

Ashtabula County court records list his arraignment date as Thursday.

The prosecutors ask for an immediate hearing, but no hearing date on the bond issue has been set.

The motion filed by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office said that Girts’ wife said Girts broke in but “did not threaten her in anyway [sic] but he was not permitted to be at the home of her daughter.”

Girts also is accused of living in Ashtabula County. The court records list an Ashtabula address.

“The state is not aware that Mr. Girts received permission from the court or notified the court of his change in residence from Brookfield, Ohio,” the motion says.

Neither Girts nor his attorneys could be reached to comment.

Last August, prosecutors asked a judge to revoke Girts’ bond after his wife said he had threatened her.

Girts wasn’t charged in that incident and his bond wasn’t revoked.

The judge did, however, order no contact between the spouses and restricted Girts’ travel between Mahoning and Cuyahoga counties for medical and court appointments.

Girts’ wife later asked that the no contact order be lifted and the judge allowed the two to have telephone contact and permitted one in-person meeting per week.

The woman is now asking that the no-contact order be restored, the motion says.

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