Officer testifies on Aron's words 'I just cracked,' officer reports she said at arrest

October 11, 1997|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Within minutes of her arrest in a conspiracy to kill her husband in June, a distraught Ruthann Aron blurted out "I just cracked," and suggested ruefully that police could end her misery by taking her "out back" and shooting her, a Montgomery County detective testified yesterday.

It didn't take long for Aron, a Potomac developer and one-time Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland, to grasp the damage she had done in allegedly trying to hire a hit man, Detective Edward Tarney suggested.

"A lot of people are going to get hurt, and I guess it's my fault," the detective testified that Aron said. He testified that he took notes of her comments at the time.

"Maybe I just lost it," Tarney quoted Aron as saying. "If I could have the last 24 hours back and I knew I was getting set up, it would be different," he testified

The testimony came as Aron's lawyers asked a judge to bar prosecutors from using the statements at her two trials, the first of which is scheduled to start Dec. 15.

But Montgomery County Circuit Judge Paul A. McGuckian said the statements were legally obtained, even though they came after Aron had told detectives she wanted to see a lawyer.

"I think it's a classic 'blurt-out,' " McGuckian said, using the term lawyers have coined to describe a defendant's incriminating statement that comes without police prodding.

McGuckian also dismissed a motion from Aron's attorneys to bar the use of tape recordings on which Aron allegedly made arrangements to hire a hit man. A police officer was posing as a paid killer.

Aron, who is a lawyer, sat quietly and seemed to be alert at the defense table during yesterday's two-hour hearing, occasionally whispering suggestions or passing notes to her attorneys.

Aron, 54, has pleaded not criminally responsible to charges that she paid $500 in June to hire a hit man to kill her husband, Barry Aron, a prominent urologist, and Arthur G. Kahn, a Baltimore attorney who once testified against her in a bitter court battle.

She has pleaded not guilty to a separate charge that she tried to kill her husband on an earlier occasion by poisoning his chili.

Aron was arrested June 9 after allegedly dropping off the down payment on the killings at a Gaithersburg hotel. Prosecutors say she had agreed to pay $10,000 for each.

Within minutes of her arrest, Aron sat dejectedly in a police interview room, staring at the floor and talking to herself, Tarney testified.

He said, however, that she was coherent and understood what was happening.

Aron asked detectives if her husband had been told of the charges against her and asked what his reaction had been, Tarney said. She also asked about her family and posed several questions about the media's knowledge of her arrest.

In one of her last comments before being taken to the Montgomery County jail, Aron made her despair clear, according to Tarney: "You might as well take me out back and shoot me," he testified. "My life is over."

Tarney said he made sure that Aron's incarceration papers noted that she should be considered a suicide risk.

Pub Date: 10/11/97

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