COLUMBUS – Quentin Lamar Smith has been found guilty of all counts in aggravated murder of two Westerville Police Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering.
Death Penalty Phase of trial to start next week.
Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced that following an eleven day jury trial, a Franklin County jury has returned guilty verdicts on all counts against Quentin Lamar Smith, age 32, in connection to the February 10th, 2018 double murders of Officer Anthony Morelli, age 54, and Officer Eric Joering, age 39, that occurred at 312 Crosswind Drive in Westerville as the officers were responding to a 911 domestic violence hang-up call.
The mitigation/sentencing phase for this death penalty case will begin on November 4th, 2019, at 9:30 am in courtroom 5F before Judge Richard Frye at 345 South High Street in downtown Columbus.
Police say the two officers were responding to a 911 hang up call from Smiths wife after she says that Smith punched and choked her unconscious. Officers when they arrived at the scene confronted Smith and Smith and both officers were shot, Only Smith survived.
The case now moves into the mitigation phase, during which the defense will try to convince a jury to spare Smith’s life.
Westerville Division of Police Chief Charles Chandler released this statement
“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.”