Charges dropped in 2002 homicide

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York County prosecutors have dropped homicide charges filed against a Red Lion man two years ago.

The district attorney's office said it does not have sufficient evidence to keep John Ruth III in the county prison, where he has been held since his arrest in February 2012.

“Upon the
complete review, we determined we had insufficient evidence beyond a
reasonable doubt,” Deputy Chief Prosecutor Tim Barker said at a news conference Thursday.

Ruth, 58, was scheduled to stand trial next month in the killing for 33-year-old Stacey Farmer, who was shot and killed in the driveway of his Windsor Township home in June 2002.

At the time of his killing, Farmer was out on bail following his arrest for hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence in the May 2002
murder of Hopethan Johnson, who was shot to death in Farmer's backyard.

Authorities said Ruth's DNA was found under Farmer's fingernails, but no other substantial evidence was recovered.

“We must
come forward with additional evidence if charges are to be reinstituted,” Barker said. “Should nothing come forward, no charges come forward. Truth
may sleep for a while, but truth does not die. We will get there.”

Barker said prosecutors do not believe Ruth is a flight risk
or a danger to the public.

Ruth's attorney, George
Matangos, insists his client is innocent.

“He
maintained his innocence with investigations, he maintained his
innocence with everyone he talked to,” Matangos said. “He's been in jail for two years
for a crime he said he did not commit.”

 

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