Doctors’ Testimony Expected in Aron Case
The defense resumes its argument in Montgomery County Circuit Court today that Ruthann Aron should not be held criminally responsible for trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband and an attorney last summer.
The defense claims that a lifetime of abuse led Mrs. Aron to pursue such an act. Psychiatrists who examined Mrs. Aron and her mother are expected on the stand this week.
Mrs. Aron, 55, a lawyer, developer and former political candidate from Potomac, has been on trial since Feb. 26.
Here’s a recap of the trial so far:
THURSDAY, FEB. 26: Defense attorney Barry Helfand tells jurors in his opening statement that Mrs. Aron did indeed try to hire a hit man to kill her husband, Dr. Barry Aron, and Baltimore lawyer Arthur Kahn. “She did it!” he declares to the jury. But, he added, Mrs. Aron is mentally disturbed and “not criminally responsible” under Maryland law.
Mr. Helfand claims that Mrs. Aron was sexually abused by her father beginning when she was 6 years old. Additionally, he says, Dr. Aron demeaned her intelligence and left to live with another woman when his wife was 8 1/2 months pregnant with their first child.
FRIDAY, FEB. 27: Trial postponed because of a sick juror.
MONDAY, MARCH 2: Businessman William Mossburg Jr., the middleman who put Mrs. Aron in touch with an undercover officer posing as a hit man, describes meetings and recorded conversations with Mrs. Aron beginning June 1 and concluding with her arrest June 9 after she left $500 at a Rockville motel for a hit man she believed would kill her husband.
Jurors hear the recordings, including one in which a woman prosecutors say is Mrs. Aron asks: “What does he charge? . . . If you want someone to disappear, what does he charge?”
TUESDAY, MARCH 3: Detective Terry Ryan testifies that one day after Mrs. Aron arranged to have him kill lawyer Arthur G. Kahn, she called back to add her husband’s name to the list. He testifies they agreed on $10,000 plus expenses for each hit.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4: Mr. Kahn testifies that he had encountered Mrs. Aron twice before in court – in the mid-1980s and he won a $175,000 civil judgment against her and in 1996 when he testified against Mrs. Aron in her slander suit against William Brock III, her opponent in the the 1994 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.
Dr. Aron, 56, tells how his wife threatened to shoot him after he pushed her down during an 1995 argument over money.
He describes their temporary breakup in 1970 and how, last year, he told her he wanted a divorce. His testimony rebuts some claims made by Mr. Helfand in his opening statements.
Much of Mr. Helfand‘s cross-examination of Dr. Aron deals with Mrs. Aron’s mental state, offering letters Dr. Aron wrote in 1972 describing his wife’s distress after the birth of their daughter.
THURSDAY, MARCH 5: Dr. Aron closes his testimony by saying he believes his wife is mentally ill because she otherwise wouldn’t have tried to hire someone to kill him.
Prosecutors present evidence that corroborates claims that Mrs. Aron considered killing her husband and Mr. Kahn herself before turning to a hit man.
Virginia gun collector Elliott Burka testifies that Mrs. Aron came to his home in May to see his gun collection. On the way to a rifle range, she asked him about gun silencers. He told her they need special ammunition and she later tells him she bought some of that ammunition at the rifle range.
FRIDAY, MARCH 6: Montgomery County Police Officer Fred Cissel testifies that on the day of her arrest, Mrs. Aron played in a charity golf tournament and also visited the Washingtonian Marriott in Gaithersburg, where police say she dropped off the $500 down payment for the hit man.
Prosecutors draw attention to a book, “The Hayduke Silencer Book: Quick and Dirty Homemade Silencers,” that they found in Mrs. Aron’s car that day. They also found all the equipment needed to make a silencer, including lawnmower mufflers, clamps and a gun with the sights and serial numbers removed.
Detective Ed Tarney, the lead investigator, testifies that Mrs. Aron began talking to herself while in the interview room hours after her arrest.
She said, “You may as well just take me out back and shoot me because my life is over. . . . Maybe I just lost it.”