In 1979, Arthur Smith was brutally murdered and his body was dumped in rural Logan County. Instead of using their resources and manpower to solve the crime, officials used their power and taxpayers money to purchase fabricated and exaggerated testimony from several career criminals, jailhouse informants, and their wives, who were all associates of one another. In exchange for the fabricated testimony, the prosecutor provided full immunity, reduced sentences, financial support, and provided early release to at least one career criminal as well as providing many other perks to approximately ten criminals, including full immunity for a series of aggravated felony offenses, including murder, attempted murder, multiple aggravated robberies, rape, escape, multiple burglaries, shoplifting and countless perjuries, all of which were confessed to by these criminals, in exchange for and while implicating George Skatzes.
George's family has been torn apart, leaving his children without a father. This has torn Mr. Smith's family apart as well. The children of Mr. Smith, still stand behind George's innocence even after 40 years, and continue to support him 100%. Logan County not only framed an innocent man and robbed him of his life, but also robbed the victim's family of justice and closure.
On Friday October 12, 1979 Arthur Smith, the manager of the Rink's Department store in Bellefontaine, Ohio disappeared after closing the store at approximately 10pm. While it had been Smith's habit to make night deposits of the day's receipts, he did avoid the appearance of normalcy, purposely taking different routes and making the deposits at different times. The bookkeeper for the store established that there was approximately $16,000 in cash and checks unaccounted for from the night of Smith's disappearance. Smith was also known to carry a .25 pistol in his sock, especially when he was going to be carrying more money than usual. This was the day that he received his early bonus.
On October 15, 1979 three days after Smith’s disappearance, his car (1969 red Volkswagen) was found with the spare keys in the ignition, parked in a space in the Bellefontaine Manor Garden Apartments, located directly behind Rinks.
On October 21, 1979 nine days after Smith's disappearance, his body was found in a field in rural Logan County. He was found with his belt and some wire twisted around his right wrist, and with injuries on both wrists, indicating that he had been bound. His legs were also bound together just above the ankles, with the same type of wire. Smith's tie and glasses were missing and never found. His shoes were placed next to his head, and his socks were also never found, nor was there any sign of his .25 pistol.
Smith’s death was the result of violence, with evidence not only of being struck on the head causing a laceration, but also of having been shot 4 times.
Dr. C. T. Richardson, the Logan County Coroner, was called to the scene. The cause of death was determined to have been a gunshot that entered the top of Smith's skull and lodged in the lower part of the jawbone. He was also shot through the chest, from side to side, as well as in the back and the abdomen. Dr. Richardson eventually would testify that the state of the decomposition of the body, called into question whether the date of death could have been October 12, 1979 as the prosecutor would suggest in his questioning. The body appeared to have been "cooled" or "preserved", possibly “submerged" in order to slow the rate of decomposition.
Because Dr. Richardson's findings were not in line with the prosecutor's theory of the case, the prosecutor had Smith's body transported to Cincinnati. There a Hamilton County doctor, Dr. Jolly, perform a second autopsy, wherein he, at the behest of the prosecutor, reported that the date of death was October 12, 1979 - the day of his abduction.
The day after Smith's body was discovered, Dr. Richardson stated, in an interview quoted herein, that "first of all, I was expected to give a rather quick answer to a difficult question. 'How long was Mr. Smith dead'. The answer had to be given after a somewhat brief examination out in the field and without the benefits of testing and without a proper autopsy by a forensic pathologist.
Secondly, my answer to the above question as to how long Arthur was dead was 'within the last 24 hours'". [Smith's body was discovered on October 21, 1979.] Dr. Richardson continued, saying that this finding was "based on two good points, both of which were agreed to by an investigator at the scene" and that he "would be more than happy to disclose and discuss these two points at a later date, perhaps after the above person or persons are apprehended and brought to trial.” Dr. Richardson closed by stating " he would sincerely hope that in the future, if the prosecuting attorney has any remarks to make in the media regarding the actions or statement of the Logan County Coroner, he would confer with the Coroner first."
Marianne Smith, the victim's widow, told investigators that it was her husband’s habit to lock and secure the store at 9.30pm, bring the night deposit home, have a late dinner, then make the deposit later that night, or in the morning. She told investigators that, on the night of his disappearance, Smith called her at 8.20pm to ask if his step-daughter, Cathy Clevenger, needed to use his Volkswagen, as he had driven it to work that night. Marianne informed her husband that Clevenger had gone to the Homecoming game with her boyfriend, David Price. Marianne further stated that she told him that she had knockwurst prepared for his dinner, and ended the call. She further told investigators that he called again at about 9.20pm and told her that he would be home soon. She told investigators that he never came home. She advised that Clevenger had come in around midnight and went to bed. She then stated that she had gone out looking for her husband, as she was worried, because he had not come home. She said she had driven to the store, the hospital and the bank, taking the route that he would have taken, but did not see him.
Marianne reported that, the day after her husband disappeared, she went to the Sheriff's Department at about 9.30am to report him missing. They refused to file a report because it had not been over 24 hours since Smith had disappeared. She eventually testified that "upon leaving the police department, I was going to the Assistant Manager's apartment but I remembered I didn't know where he lived." Therefore, she then returned home, got the telephone book out and found the number for the Assistant Manager, Mr. Akers, and contacted him, to inform him that someone needed to open the store in Smith’s absence.
Later that same afternoon, Marianne spoke with Michael Smith, Arthur's son. She advised him that his father was missing. She explained that she had gone out looking for his father through the night, and that she had tried to report him missing, to no avail. Michael ended up going with her, to try to get the officials to file a report, but they still refused to do so.
Clevenger told investigators that Marianne had awoken her at about 8.30am and told her that Smith had not come home. Clevenger stated that Marianne told her she had gone to bed about 2am, woke up about 6am and then went out looking for him, unsuccessfully. Clevenger then claimed she had gone to the Homecoming game with Price because "her best friend, Becky was the Homecoming Queen".
Later, investigations revealed that the Homecoming Queen was not, in fact, "her friend, Becky" but was actually a girl named Susan Maier. Maier was the niece of Ann Maier, who ended up being chosen by the prosecutor to sit as a juror on Skatzes trial.
Later investigations further revealed, from handwritten notes of the prosecutor, that Clevenger was actually at the park, near Rinks, around the time of Smith’s disappearance. Clevenger did tell investigators that she and Price left the game early, they drove by Rinks at around 9.15pm, and she saw Smith’s Volkswagen. She claimed she could not remember what she and her boyfriend did after that.
Two days later, on October 15, 1979 the police contacted Michael Smith and advised him that they had located the Volkswagen and had towed it to the police garage. This was the same two-day period that elapsed between his father’s disappearance and the time when Marianne notified his adult children that he was missing. The car was found parked in a space at the Bellefontaine Manor Garden Apartments, directly behind the Rinks store, with the spare keys in the ignition. The primary keys that Smith carried were never found.
Over the following days, Michael Smith, Bruce Lile (Smith’s son in-law), town volunteers, and other friends searched for the well-liked Arthur Smith.
Notably, the bean field where Smith was eventually discovered on October 21, 1979 had been thoroughly searched the previous day by the Sheriff and the police, and the body had not been found. Smith’s adult children continued to urge officials to get justice for their father. Despite this pressure from the family, and the fact that law enforcement officials gathered information that led to a substantive list of suspects, which eventually ran to three pages, (with George Skatzes nowhere on the list).
Three years elapsed with neither the police, Sheriff's or prosecutors making any progress on solving the crimes. Smith’s abduction and murder remained a mystery.
George Skatzes A173501
PO Box 5500
Chillicothe, OHIO 45601
THE JAILHOUSE INFORMANTS
In June 1982, an inmate at the London Correctional Institution named Jack Benton, saw an opportunity and contacted the Bellefontaine authorities. He claimed to have information on the Arthur Smith case. Benton told a story to the authorities about the case, that involved George Skatzes, James Rogers and Danny Stanley. In exchange, Benton wanted his freedom and immunity from further prosecution. The police initially did not believe Benton, until he also told them about a string of unsolved robberies throughout Ohio. Once he convinced them he knew about the robberies, they decided to follow through on the rest of his story. This sent them to fellow prisoners Danny Stanley, also at London Correctional Institution and James Rogers who was serving 37-130 years at the notorious S.O.C.F. prison at Lucasville. Notably, although Benton was never called to testify at the Grand Jury or at the trial, he was still granted "Shock Probation" and released immediately from prison, despite being statutorily ineligible for it, in exchange for his story. In addition, Benton was given a job at Rinks, a place to live, and full immunity for other crimes he admitted to having committed within his story.
Danny Stanley was transported from the prison at London to Logan County and offered a deal to testify against Skatzes regarding crimes Stanley had committed, supposedly with James Rogers and Skatzes that had nothing to do with the Arthur Smith case. The information regarding these other crimes, had been provided to police by James Rogers, who also told police that it had been he and Skatzes who had robbed the Rinks and that it had been Skatzes who shot Smith. Rogers further attested to at least another fourteen armed robberies that he had committed, claiming that Stanley and Skatzes were with him on some of them, also claiming that Skatzes had possessed the guns on some of them. Notably, when the police searched Skatzes’s residence, a total of eight firearms and an assortment of cylinders and ammunition were discovered and taken into evidence. After testing, it was established that none of them were used in the Arthur Smith case, or any of the other crimes which Rogers committed, and claimed that Skatzes participated.
Stanley was transported from prison to the Bellefontaine City Jail, where he was provided with carte blanche, being permitted to frequent downtown bars, have women stay overnight with him in the City Jail, and having all of his food, clothing, drinks and cigarettes paid for by the Chief of Police and Prosecutor MacGillivray. Needless to say, Stanley was more than happy to go along with the program, as it was a far better situation than sitting in prison.
It was only when Stanley was told by Rogers (with whom he was an associate in crime) that "George was not even present when Smith was killed" (with Rogers reportedly being high on drugs, when he confessed this to Stanley) that Stanley went to the officials to report what Rogers had confessed. However, the prosecutor refused to listen. Stanley then provided the information to Skatzes’s attorney, whereupon he was abruptly transferred from his cushy situation to the county jail, and all of his privileges were revoked. Notably, the Bellefontaine Examiner Newspaper ran stories in June 1983 exposing some of the irregularities and exceptional privileges bestowed upon the state prisoner-witnesses against Skatzes, prompting Stanley to write to the Newspaper objecting to the whitewash the local officials attempted to apply to the exposé. Stanley even went so far as to go on hunger strike, in December 1983, trying to get an outside agency to investigate the situation, to no avail.
Stanley's girlfriend, Becky Boop gave an incriminating statement, establishing that it had been she and Rogers who had cased the Rinks store for the robbery. She also admitted to helping Rogers rob two elderly men in their home at gunpoint. Boop held the gun on the men while Rogers ransacked the home for valuables. When asked whether her gun was loaded, she replied "Yes". Notably Boop was never charged for her admitted crimes, in fact, she also received full immunity for her involvement.
Rogers was a career criminal starting as a juvenile at the Boys Industrial School (reform school) and with his first adult arrest and conviction coming at age 18, for which he served five years at the Mansfield Reformatory. He was paroled, violated parole and was returned to prison. He was eventually paroled again and, in 1980, returned to prison with a series of convictions including aggravated robbery, five counts of kidnapping, felonious assault, and possession of criminal tools, to serve a 37-130 year sentence. While he was in jail after his conviction, awaiting transport to prison, Rogers engineered an (unsuccessful) escape attempt at the Allen County Jail. It was also revealed that he had been masterminding robberies from behind prison walls by writing letters to his wife, Diane Rogers, with detailed instructions as to how she and Benton were to carry them out.
During Rogers statements in cooperation with the prosecutors, he confessed to his personal involvement in fourteen aggravated armed robberies, multiple kidnappings, burglaries and assaults as well as to the planning of robberies from prison, and multiple instances of perjury, in addition to being involved in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Arthur Smith. Although Rogers was eventually charged in the death of Smith, his being charged was a smokescreen for the jury, to falsely add credibility to his testimony. Rogers was ultimately granted full immunity for the crimes, as well as for all of the other crimes to which he confessed. He was also assisted with seeking early release from his 37-130 year sentence. The only evidence eventually adduced to support Rogers' claims was the statements and testimony of his wife, Diane Rogers.
Diane Rogers was approached by police and threatened with prosecution relating to the Smith case, as well as other crimes in which she was involved with her husband. She was eventually charged in the Smith case (again, as a smokescreen like with her husband) and was later granted full immunity in all other crimes in which she openly admitted her involvement, in exchange for her implicating Skatzes. These crimes included being a co-conspirator in her husband's armed robberies, by destroying evidence and helping to spend the money as well as helping Benton to commit armed robberies based upon the instructions sent out from prison by her husband. She also admitted being involved in shoplifting schemes, and helping to prepare an escape attempt for her husband, in addition to admitting to having committed perjury on multiple occasions.
Based upon the stories told to police and prosecutors by these admitted career criminals, all of whom where interconnected with each another, Skatzes was arrested and charged with Aggravated Robbery and Murder in the Arthur Smith case, as well as 29 other charges, none of which he had anything to do with, and based solely upon the fabricated, falsified, perjured and purchased statements of James Rogers, Diane Rogers, and their associates, Jack Benton, Danny Stanley, Jerry Whitaker and his wife Bonnie.
Skatzes had a prior conviction for auto theft and forgery from 1968 and had served three years in prison, then successfully completed parole. In 1973, he had another forgery conviction and was sentenced to five years. He served two years, and again successfully completed parole. He then straightened out and was building a life for himself, and taking care of his family.
In December 1982, Skatzes was arrested. While he was in the county jail trying to fight these false charges, he discovered that the prosecutor had hired a private investigator called Tom Martin to work on the Arthur Smith case. The interesting thing is that Martin also worked for a private lawyer named J. C. Ratliff, in Marion County, Ohio, about 45 or 50 miles away from Logan County. Ratliff was appointed by the court to represent Rogers. So we have a private investigator working for both the prosecution and the defense in a high-profile murder case, which was among the top ten most reported on in the media. Notably, when the court appoints an attorney to represent an indigent defendant in a criminal case, it is always a lawyer from that county. Always.
The prosecutor sent Martin as a spy, to undermine the defense efforts in the case, befriending Diana Rogers and visiting her husband to acquire information.
On April 25 1983, Skatzes’s lawyers filed a Motion to Dismiss based upon egregious prosecutorial misconduct including the unethical planting of Martin in the defense camp, as well as other grounds such as falsely charging Diane Rogers with Smith's murder, knowing full well she was not present, in an effort to manipulate witnesses and their prospective testimonies. The prosecutor even had retired Sheriff Deputy Phillip Alloway transport Jimmy Rogers from the prison, to the jail without notifying his attorney. The prosecutor also conducted secret meetings with Jimmy Rogers outside the presence of counsel, and presented false representations to the trial court, indicating that Reverend Thomas Montgomery would state that Skatzes admitted culpability to him when, in fact, the Sheriff's Department employees applied a lot of pressure upon the Reverend to attempt to force him into lying about a so-called confession from Skates. However, they did not count on the Reverend standing his ground and at the end, he told the truth that Skatzes never confessed and had nothing to do with this crime.
The prosecutor further falsified a Sheriff's Report concerning a witness, James R. Grunden, his wife and a passenger. They reported, while travelling south, at approximately 11.30pm – midnight, they saw a large, dark-colored car in the "lovers lane" area, near where Smith's body was later discovered. Grunden's wife and passenger both confirmed the details of this sighting. The report furnished to the court by the prosecutor, however, falsely stated that the Grunden car was travelling north, and that the time of the sighting had been exactly 2.45pm on October 22, 1979. These false details, while working to jibe with the prosecutor's "theory of the case" are grossly inaccurate and demonstrate further perpetration of fraud upon the Court by the prosecutor.
The prosecutor further made false assertions to the Court and defense counsel during discovery, which were brought to the attention of the Court within the Motion to Dismiss. Of course, the Court rejected the Motion out of hand, and went on to try Skatzes for the crimes.
At trial, the prosecutor presented the testimonies of James and Diane Rogers, along with several other of their friends and associates.
Rogers had been charged, along with Skatzes, but the charges were a smokescreen for the jury, with a secret agreement being made to dismiss all charges in exchange for his testimony implicating Skatzes. This agreement was not revealed to the jury, who were misled to believe that Rogers was actually going to be tried as well. Rogers thus admitted to a long series of robberies and other crimes, and told his story about having committed the Rinks store robbery with Skatzes. Rogers testified that he and Skatzes had cased the store together, and grabbed Smith, forcing him into his Volkswagen, with Rogers driving, and took Smith out to the field. Rogers clearly testified, and repeated on cross examination, that he had trouble with the standard manual transmission, which required use of the clutch pedal. Rogers testified that he left Skatzes and Smith in the field and went to drop off the Volkswagen because he was "having trouble driving the standard shift vehicle", and then picked up his own car which he had left in the Bellefontaine Garden Apartments parking lot, behind Rinks.
When he got back, Rogers claimed, Skatzes told him, that he had been forced to shoot Smith. All of the details that he provided about the crime were widely reported in the newspapers. The only detail that was not contained in the news reports was the fact that the Volkswagen was not, in fact, standard shift, but was automatic.
Rogers' testimony also purported to implicate Skatzes in other of his admitted crimes.
Rogers also openly admitted to having engineered robberies from prison by sending out instruction to his wife, Diane, and other of his associates. Rogers further admitted that each and every time he had ever been on a witness stand, he had committed perjury in order to try to help himself.
Diane Rogers, who was also charged in the Smith case (again, only as a smokescreen to fool the jury, with the charges secretly being dismissed), testified similarly to her husband's story, also admitting to her own involvement in multiple crimes with her husband. She was granted full immunity for all of her admitted crimes. Diane also admitted that each and every time she had ever been on a witness stand, she had committed perjury by lying in order to try to help her husband and herself. Diane stated, during her testimony, "We almost got away with it". Diane's testimony included the fact that she had actually been paid, in cash, for her testimony to implicate Skatzes, including money for rent, food, and other things. Notably, Diane further admitted that her husband was angry with Skates, because Skatzes had not helped get his bail money for the charges, for which he was then serving time.
During the presentation of the prosecutor's case, there were multiple conferences between the judge and the lawyers. During these, the judge berated the prosecutor for lying to the Court about providing discovery, including a large number of prior statements from prosecution witnesses, many of which were damaging to their credibility. It is obvious from reading the record, that the prosecutor played fast and loose with all of the rules, before and during trial, and that he had no regard for the mandatory ethics of his position.
Testimony from Michael Smith, Arthur's son, was presented. This established that Marianne had not told the truth about her activities on the night that her husband disappeared, having claimed to have gone out looking for him, and also having claimed only to have gone to sleep.
Most telling in Michael Smith's testimony, was the fact that he had spent time working on his father’s red Volkswagen. Michael testified that the Volkswagen that Rogers testified he was having trouble driving, because of the clutch, was an automatic, and did not have a clutch pedal! What really underscores this testimony, is the fact that the forensic examination of the Volkswagen revealed that the only fingerprint located on the steering wheel belonged to Clevenger, Marianne's daughter. She had claimed not to have driven the Volkswagen for about a week prior to Smith’s disappearance. (Remember that Marianne was caught lying about her activities on the night her husband disappeared.)
Additional testimony from Michael Smith, and from Sheila Lile (Smith’s daughter), established that Smith had discovered some irregularities regarding missing drugs from Gray's Pharmacy, and missing guns from Rinks inventory, and that he had particular suspects in mind. They both testified that Smith had serious concerns about the problems, and was keeping all of the information he uncovered written in a small book. Michael testified that his father was keeping the book in order to protect himself, and had indicated that once the theft ring was exposed, "a lot of heads will roll in this county".
When the prosecutor attempted to grill Michael about why he had never mentioned this book to the police, he replied that the police had never interviewed him, or talked to him at all.
Not one single print from Skatzes or Rogers were found anywhere on the Volkswagen, anywhere else in the store, or the site where Smith’s body was recovered. No physical or forensic evidence implicated Skatzes whatsoever, or supported the testimony of the Rogers'.
Despite the lack of evidence, and the fact that much of James and Diane Rogers stories were contradicted by other uncontradicted evidence, Skatzes was found guilty and sent to prison to serve a life sentence.
AFTER THE TRIAL
Shortly after the April 29, 1983 verdict, Danny Stanley came forward with a sworn Affidavit attesting to the fact that Rogers had admitted to him, that he was lying and that Skatzes had nothing whatsoever to do with the Rinks robbery or the murder of Smith.
Stanley further attested to the fact, that he had not told the police because he was afraid of reprisals, and he had been told not to talk with defense lawyers.
Skatzes’ lawyer filed a timely Motion for New Trial, on May 13, 1983 and a second one on June 1, 1983 with a supplementary Memorandum and additional new evidence. Skatzes was entitled to attend this hearing, but the lawyer claimed that they "didn't know" that they had to make a formal request to the court for his attendance, so he did not get to attend the hearing.
At the hearing, which was held on July 8, 1983 Stanley's evidence was presented. In addition, evidence was also presented establishing that although James Rogers had testified at trial that Skatzes had "robbed and killed a man in Marion", the two actual witnesses to the crime had completed composite drawings at the time, which actually resembled ... James Rogers himself. Once again, the evidence proves that Rogers took his own crimes and put them on Skatzes. Also the prosecutor, having actual or imputed knowledge of the police files, knew or should have known that Rogers was lying in his trial testimony when implicating Skatzes in the Marion case, when the prosecutor knew it was actually Rogers who committed the crime.
Despite all of the evidence demonstrating that the prosecutor had completely disregarded the rules of court, and the truth, as well as the Code of Professional Responsibility in his quest for a win, no matter what the truth was, the trial court denied the Motion for New Trial.
Eventually, Skatzes regular appeal was heard, in which the machinations of the prosecutor, in manipulating the trial dates, which resulted in a violation of Skatzes speedy trial rights was raised, as well as the denial of the Motions for New Trial, the withholding of exculpatory and impeachment evidence, the knowing presentation of false testimony by the prosecutor, and the repeated and continuing violations of discovery orders by the prosecutor, as well as the planting of an investigator working for the prosecutor in the defense camp. The Court of Appeals rejected all of the issues.
Over the years, additional evidence has also come to light. Letters written by James Rogers to Diane detailing plans for robberies, including specifics as to how and who to rob, and which stated that James is "gonna get Skatzes", along with letters to other people acknowledging that Skatzes was not involved in the Rinks job, were discovered.
It was also discovered that the prosecutor had received a letter, well before trial in this case, addressed to "Mr. Heaton, Logan County Prosecutor's Office" with the author offering information about the murder of Smith which has never been followed up on by the prosecutor, and which was not disclosed to the defense at trial. The author stated that he had a personal relationship with Clevenger, and that she had often tried to talk him into robbing Smith, to the point of even making a plan to do it. The author refused to do it.
It was also discovered that witnesses had come forward from the Bellefontaine Garden Manor Apartments, indicating that they had seen a man being held captive in one of the apartments, and later saw that crime scene being cleaned ... by the police!!! When they attempted to report this, they were told by officials to keep it to themselves. No report was filed and the information was never followed up on by officials or divulged to the defense.
This information is extremely important as in explains the fact that Smith had been restrained for a long period of time, according to the forensic evidence, and that the condition of his body was completely inconsistent with having lain out in a field for nine days. Remember that the same field where Smith’s body was found, had been searched thoroughly by police the day before, and his body was not there.
A private investigator interviewed Michael Smith who has openly stated and maintains that he does not believe Skatzes was involved in his father's death. Michael was able to bring many questions to the forefront regarding the death of his father, including the fact that the mileage on the Volkswagen establishes that it could not possibly have been used to transport his father to the bean field outside of town, were his body was discovered. But the mileage matched having been driven directly to the Bellefontaine Manor Apartments where it was found.
Michael also revealed that Marianne had been involved with Dean Ramsbottom, as the two had been seen about town together. Ramsbottom was a police officer. Michael further revealed that Marianne had been behaving extremely strangely, pulling almost all of her husband’s money out of the bank, amounting to over $100,000 while he was still missing, and before his body was found, and withdrawing herself and the children from any interaction with the rest of the family.
Michael further discovered that, shortly after the funeral, Marianne began paying cash for several new vehicles and had an attorney send a letter to Smith’s children asking them to sign a form giving up their rights to any portion of his estate.
Michael also revealed that, around the time of his father’s death, Clevenger had become involved with drugs, and had been stealing from Rinks. It had previously been revealed that Clevenger had stolen a small check from her mother and that Smith was planning to confront her about it, and possibly file charges. The employee at Rinks that had cashed the check for her had been intensely questioned and almost fired.
Michael further revealed that Clevenger had been arrested after his father’s body had been found. He also discovered from personnel at the Uniontown County Jail that she had told police she knew who had murdered her father. Once the family discovered this, they urged officials to investigate, but they were rebuffed and threatened.
Michael also revealed that his father had caught the son of a prominent local attorney stealing drugs from Rinks Pharmacy. When his father insisted on pressing charges, the Bellefontaine Police Chief, John Harvey, tried to talk him out of it, and when Smith insisted, Harvey tried to intimidate him into keeping quiet. Smith disappeared a few days after this confrontation.
Michael went onto disclose additional information he had unearthed relating to official corruption in the area, and possible ties to the rampant drug dealing and pressure to convict someone in his father's case which, he believes, contributed to the efforts to frame Skatzes for the crime.
After a full, complete and thorough review of all of the court records, the extant evidence and all of the files in this case, it is clear that George Skatzes had absolutely nothing to do with the Rinks robbery or the abduction and murder of Arthur Smith and is, in fact, actually innocent.