Quentin Smith Is Found Guilty of Killing Two Westerville Cops


WESTERVILLE, Ohio – A jury found Quentin Smith, who was charged in the killing of two Westerville Police officers, guilty Friday on five counts of aggravated murder, murder and domestic violence.

Smith killed the two officers, Anthony “Tony” Morelli and Eric Joering, when they went to check up on his estranged wife Candice Smith. A February 2018 hung-up 911 call prompted the two officers to go check on the apartment that had been known as a residence with domestic violence history. Joering died at the scene when shot and Morelli died at the hospital after being shot in the chest.

The Westerville Police Chief Charles Chandler provided a statement The Ohio Star.

This week has been another difficult step in grieving the loss of Officers Tony Morelli and Eric Joering.

It has been emotionally brutal for our department and our community to relive February 10, 2018. I want to first express my gratitude for all of those who have offered support or words of encouragement this week. The support, care and concern of the entire Westerville community, indeed all of Central Ohio, throughout this ordeal has been nothing short of phenomenal and on behalf of the entire Westerville Division of Police, I wish to express my deepest appreciation.

The Westerville Division of Police put its trust in the judicial system. We want to express our appreciation for Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien as well as those in his office for delivering an Aggravated Murder conviction.

More than 19 months ago, when this act took place, we made a clear and conscious decision as a department to focus our attention on our fallen brothers. We have said very little about the offender who committed this despicable crime, and we will continue to honor that decision.

Instead, we continue to offer our love and support to the Morelli and Joering families. It is our hope that when the sentencing portion of the proceedings are finished it brings additional peace and comfort to their healing process.

I am proud of the entire department who braced for this day. In particular, retired Officer Ray and Officers Mason, Pentecost, Betts, Phillips and Corporal Jack Johnson whose courage on the stand honored Tony and Eric’s memory.

WPD remains “Westerville Strong.”

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien explained the background of the accused and what led up to the tragic event in his opening statement.

“What we have, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is a domestic violence victim who called and hung up. We have dispatched to the scene were three first responders arrived, doing their job. Officer Morelli, on the police department 30 years, not far from retirement. Officer Joering, who was age 39, had been a police officer for 16 years. And the indictment in this case alleges that the defendant, on that morning, around high noon, shot and killed purposely Officer Anthony Morelli, who was a law enforcement officer and he knew he was a law enforcement officer…and at that point in time he purposely caused the death with a gun shot to both officers…”

The defendant faced five charges. The first two counts of the indictment were aggravated murder with death penalty specifications because the men killed were law enforcement officers and because more than one individual was killed. There were two additional lesser murder charges and a felony domestic violence charge.

Retired Officer Timothy Ray who had responded to the scene at the same time as Morelli and Joering, was a witness for the prosecution, along with Officers Mason, Pentecost, Betts, Phillips, Corporal Jack Johnson and Candice Smith, the defendant’s wife.

In closing statements, the prosecution declared the defendant intended to kill both officers so that he could make his escape. He shot them while his then 15-month-old daughter was in the room. He failed to escape because he had been shot by the officers five times, and that enabled Officer Ray to make the arrest.

Defense attorneys tried to argue there was no purposeful intent, that the shooting was, “…an unexpected, panicked, and confusing unfolding of events.” The Defense did not question his guilt, only the aggravated murder charges.

The jury did not question his guilt either. They found the defendant guilty on all five counts after a scant few hours of deliberation. The death penalty phase is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 4th.

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to [email protected].






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