Suspect in Ohio Officer’s Killing Passes on Initial Hearing

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The suspect in the death of an Ohio police officer has given up his right to an initial court hearing.

The decision Thursday by Lincoln Rutledge means the state now has nearly two months before an indictment must be issued.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says the extra time allows both sides to research the case and for Rutledge’s attorneys to argue against making the indictment a death penalty case. Ohio law includes killing a police officer as a factor that can lead to capital punishment.

A message was left with the public defender’s office representing the 44-year-old Rutledge.

Earlier Thursday, dozens of police cruisers escorted slain Columbus SWAT officer Steven Smith’s body to a funeral home. Smith died Tuesday, two days after being shot.