Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Jury selection begins in girl's death

Police say man admitted killing

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        More than a year after he helped search for a missing 6-year-old girl, Ralph Lynch is on trial for killing her.

        The Colerain Township man sat silently in court Monday while his attorneys began selecting the jury that will decide whether he should be sent to Ohio's death row.

        Mr. Lynch, 48, is accused of strangling and sexually assaulting Mary Jennifer Love.

        The girl, who lived in an apartment near Mr. Lynch, disappeared June 24 last year.

        Family, friends and neighbors joined in a massive search for the child until her body was found rolled in a carpet a week later. Mr. Lynch took part in the search and even spoke to a television reporter about his efforts.

        “Mary was such a nice little girl,” he said in the interview.

        While talking to neighbors a few days after the girl's disappearance, police said they spoke to Mr. Lynch and became suspicious because he seemed nervous.

        At an earlier court hearing, detectives said they interviewed Mr. Lynch for several hours on two occasions. On July 3, they said, he blurted out the location of the girl's body.

        They said he then led investigators to a wooded area off Breezy Acres Drive, where they found Mary's body in the rolled up carpet.

        In a taped statement to police, Mr. Lynch described how the girl began crying when he asked if he could touch her. Police have testified that Mr. Lynch told them he grabbed her neck and began applying pressure.

        “I wanted her to be qui et,” a detective recalled Mr. Lynch saying. “I choked her.”

        Similar testimony is expected at Mr. Lynch's trial, which could last as long as four weeks. He is charged with aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping and gross abuse of a corpse.

        Jury selection will continue today in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court before Judge Robert Kraft.


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