Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Robert Gary GIRTS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner - To collect insurance money
Number of victims: 1 +
Date of murder: September 2, 1992
Date of birth: June 24, 1953
Victim profile: Diane Eileen Girts, 42 (his third wife)
Method of murder: Poisoning (Potassium cyanide)
Location: Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment with a possibility of parole after twenty years on June 11, 1993

United States Court of Appeals
For the Sixth Circuit


opinion 05-4023


In the Supreme Court of the United States


petition for writ of certiorari


Man convicted of killing wife to get a new trial

Thursday, September 6, 2007

CINCINNATI A former undertaker convicted twice of killing his wife by giving her poison must be given another trial, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, citing improper comments made by the prosecutor in the man's second trial.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here ordered Robert Girts, a Poland Township native, to be retried in six months or be set free.

Girts, who worked at a funeral home in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, was convicted in 1993 of aggravated murder in the death of Diane Girts and was sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said he gave her a fatal dose of potassium cyanide.

That conviction was reversed by a state appeals court in 1994. Girts was convicted again the following year by a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas jury, and that conviction was upheld.

Girts then took his fight to federal district court, which ruled in 2005 that the prosecutor improperly commented on Girts' failure to testify at his second trial, and that he got ineffective legal advice. But the court declined to free Girts.

The prosecutor's statements were sufficiently flagrant to warrant reversal, the appeals court said in its 2-1 ruling.

Diane Girts, 42, was Girts' third wife. She died in 1992.

Relative's reaction

"This was the day, Sept. 5th, that we buried Diane," Bettianne Jones of Columbiana said Wednesday. She was Diane Girts' sister-in-law.

Jones worked last summer, taking a binderful of information to the state parole board, to make sure Girts wasn't granted parole. The board denied it, ruling him ineligible for parole for the next 10 years.

She said she felt discouraged when she heard the news Wednesday.

"I felt like all the air was sucked out of me." Her husband, Barry, who was Diane Girts' brother, died in 1997, she said, and he won't be with her for the third trial. She said she didn't think she could go through it all again.

Once she absorbed the news though, she got angry. "I'm thinking, bring it on," she said. "We'll have another trial, and we'll convict him a third time."



MO: "Bluebeard" slayer of wives.

DISPOSITION: 20 years to life on one count, 1993.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers



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