Lawyers, prosecutors argue over the use of DNA swab in Coitsville murder trial

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Francis Rydarowicz is set for trial later this summer, accused of killing his wife at a Coitsville motel

francis rydarowicz charged with killing his wife at a Coitsville motel

WKBN/Joe Gorman

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A former Coitsville police officer testified in a suppression hearing Friday that the suspect in the June stabbing death of a woman at a US-422 hotel did agree to allow a DNA swab to be taken from him.

Judge Anthony Donofrio in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court also viewed video from Ronald Craig’s body camera that was taken while he took the swab from Francis Rydarowicz, 49, in a room at St. Elizabeth Health Center. That was taken shortly after his wife, Katherine Rydarowicz, 48, was found stabbed to death in the parking lot of the King’s Hotel.

There was also video from Craig’s camera showing Rydarowicz decline to speak to police, saying he wanted a lawyer. That was before he signed a form asking if he would consent to the DNA swab.

Rydarowicz agreed to allow the swab to be taken and signed a form acknowledging that agreement, which was also shown on the body cam footage.

Defense attorney John Juhasz is asking for the DNA swab to be thrown out, arguing that once Rydarowicz declined to speak to police, he should not have been asked if he would consent to a DNA swab. Prosecutors countered that Rydarowicz understood what he was doing when he consented to the swab.

Craig, who is now a part-time officer in New Middletown and is also a security consultant for the Cafaro Co., said the Rydarowiczs were well known to police in both Hubbard, where they were from, and Coitsville because of their turbulent history.

“They floated between Coitsville and Hubbard, and we knew there were some domestic incidents,” Craig said.

Rydarowicz was treated for wounds he received the night his wife was killed.

Craig said he read Rydarowicz his rights from a form, but under cross-examination from Juhasz, he admitted the form does not tell people being questioned they have the right to stop answering at any time. He also admitted that there is no place on the form that was read that states a person can waive their rights if they want to.

Under redirect examination, Assistant Prosecutor Steve Yacovone pointed out that there is a spot on the form that asks if a suspect understands his or her right,s and Rydarowicz said he did.

Both sides still need to question a witness who was not present Friday. When that is completed, they will submit final written arguments before a decision is made.

Rydarowicz is set for trial later this summer.

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