Late Wednesday the jury returned the verdict in the case of Quentin Smith. Smith was found guilty last week of purposely killing Westerville Police Officers Anthony “Tony” Morelli and Eric Joering. While the charges carried death penalty specifications, the jury was unable to come to a unanimous agreement on the sentence of death, but they did agree to life without the possibility of parole.
During the hearings to determine sentencing this week, local news tweeted, “Widows of Westerville officers testify during sentencing phase of killer’s trial…”
— 10TV.com (@10TV) November 4, 2019
10TV shared some of women’s testimony, “I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and have a terrific marriage,” Linda Morelli said. “I would like everyone to know that Tony was not just an officer — that he was a son, a brother, a husband and a father.” They were married almost 30 years.
Mrs. Morelli also talked about her daughter’s wedding which was just four months after Tony was killed. He was not there to walk his daughter down the aisle, so a heart made from his shirt was sewn into her wedding gown.
Jami Joering noted her final conversation with her husband Eric was a phone call that Saturday morning. She felt instinctively something was off that day. She told the jury, “I attempted to contact him again at 12:21, except this time, no response. I later found out it was because he had been murdered.”
“My husband died a hero that day,” Joering declared. “I’m proud that he walked in with his head held high and saved Candace [Smith] and her daughter. Because he took an oath to serve and protect, and he died that day doing just that.”
Chief Charles Chandler of the Westerville Police Department issued the following statement Wednesday evening,
The verdict in this phase of the trial is met with many mixed emotions.
The most important result of today is that the killer will not have the ability to harm anyone in society again. We will continue to move on with the healing process and support the Morelli and Joering families. We will also ensure the lives of our fallen brothers are celebrated and never forgotten. Tony and Eric’s actions embody the true heart of the American Police Officer; they made the ultimate sacrifice. There is no outcome that brings them back, so as a department and community, we move forward.
Again, thank you for the love and support. Always #WestervilleStrong”
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