Testimony begins in Lincoln Rutledge Trial

Lincoln Rutledge

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Lincoln Rutledge is facing the death penalty for allegedly killing a police officer last year.  A jury of 12 and four alternates heard opening statements from both sides and spent nearly two hours hearing from his estranged wife about what she calls his deteriorating condition months before he was charged.

On April 10, 2016, prosecutors say Rutledge barricaded himself in his California Ave. apartment when police tried to arrest him for allegedly setting his ex-wife’s house on fire.

During the ensuing barricade situation, investigators said he fired a dozen shots, one hitting an officer’s bulletproof vest and another killing SWAT officer Steven Smith.

On the stand, Rutledge’s ex-wife told jurors that just weeks before the shooting, she met him and asked him to move his belongings out of her home, and her reaction was terrifying.

Attorney: His response to you was frightening?

Jennifer Young: Extremely!

Attorney: This was a Lincoln you had never seen before?

Jennifer Young: Never!

Attorney: He was screaming?

Jennifer Young: Yes!

Attorney: Out of control?

Jennifer Young: Yes!

Attorney: Using profanity?

Jennifer Young: Yes!

Attorney: Pushed you on several occasions?

Jennifer Young: Yes!

Young said she warned Columbus police and the sig sitter at her home about Rutledge before her house was set on fire and the officer killed.

“He believes the FBI and CIA are after him, please be careful,” said Young.

The prosecutor told jurors police officers will testify about the shooting and explain how methodical Rutledge acted before allegedly spraying them with gunfire.

“They will tell you his intent to use deadly force. They will tell you they were met with gunfire at them, they will tell you he was invoking the Castle Doctrine, a legal doctrine which allows a homeowner to use deadly force to repel people coming into their home, but not one that applies to policemen,” Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Warren Edwards said in his opening statement.

On Tuesday the four other SWAT officers working with Officer Smith will testify about the firefight.

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