1975 murderer returns to Belmont court

AN EASTERN Court episode in Bellaire two weeks ago drew heavy media and law enforcement attention after a defendant waltzed in, possessing a walking stick containing a set of brass knuckles and a filet knife. The knife was 13 inches long.

There was no metal detector or law enforcement personnel in the court. The accused criminal sat just feet away from the judge.

Fortunately, police from Bellaire and Shadyside were called and the weapons confiscated. Tragedy was averted and proper precautions are now in place in Eastern Court.

The defendant that day was Ron Asher, also known as Rahaan Obatiaye Cetawayo. He was in court facing charges of persistent disorderly conduct, obstructing justice and resisting arrest.

For those growing longer in tooth, the name of Ron Asher may resonate, and not in glowing terms.

Asher, a Bellaire high graduate, is remembered for a most gruesome murder in 1975.

The crime occurred in Martins Ferry. Asher and two of his cronies were planning to rob A&P grocery store, which was housed at the current Staffilino’s auto dealership.

The three criminals abducted an A&P employee collecting buggies in the store’s parking lot. They were driving around, telling him of their plot. The employee was to let them in the back of the store to enable the robbery to take place.

It never reached that point, however.

Bill Patsche was the Martins Ferry police chief at the time. He tells me the station received a call about a car parked on Jefferson Street and the door open.

Patsche said when he arrived at the scene, he found a nose and ear on the street, blood everywhere and the car (an old Chevy) stuck in third gear.

The A&P employee was found shot to death inside.

The common theory was the shooting was accidental, believing the shotgun was against the victim’s head and went off as the driver did not know how to properly operate a standard.

Patsche headed up the investigation and said he received a tip from a hitman which helped lead to Asher’s conviction. The former chief said Asher was retried on a technicality but was found guilty again.

Patsche said Asher, now 68, had a rap sheet “very long.”

I extend thanks to Bill for recalling the incident, as he took me through it like it was yesterday. It is an episode that still evokes haunting memories.


I AM a big proponent of construction of a new bridge connecting Brilliant with an area south of Wellsburg. It would greatly reduce travel time commuting between the two states. It would also help both communities attract new development opportunities. Right now it sounds like it may actually become a long overdue reality.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Dale Broomhall on his first win as Buckeye Trail’s head grid coach. The rookie mentor guided his Warriors past Caldwell Thursday night.

THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce Office has officially relocated to 3287 Belmont St., next to Rigas’ Restaurant. The hours of operation will stay the same, Tuesday 10-2, Wednesday 12-2 and Thursday 10-2.

LINSLY PLAYED its home football game Friday night versus Parkersburg South at Bethany College. The national anthem was performed exceptionally well by Linsly School student and Yorkville native Giovanna Loccisano. She is also a talented ice skater.

JOHN MAGISTRO has Westerville Central out of the grid gates at 2-0 via its hard-fought 23-20 win over a quality New Albany squad Friday night. Magistro led the Warhawks to a shutout triumph over Big Walnut in the season opener. Westerville Central takes on Thomas Worthingon this Friday in the Warhawks’ home opener. Magistro, of St. John Central and Bellaire High fame, guided the Warhawks to an 8-2 mark and a Division I playoff berth a season ago.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.