Code Amber Ticker
Politics and MurderSubmitted by rodman on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 04:42
A millionaire Real Estate developer claws her way into Washington politics. But during her increasing obsession for political office she hatches a devious plan. Something in her brain told her that anything that got in her way had to be removed. This story is all about the lust for public office. It sounds, and is, crazy but it is the story about how one politician went from running from public office to becoming the most notorious outlaws ever to be known in the DC area. Her name still strikes fear in the hearts of those who knew her.
Her name was Ruth Ann Aron. She was a millionaire former real estate developer and US Senate candidate. On June 9th 1997 she arrived at a Marriott hotel in Gaithersburg Maryland. Walking briskly into the lobby she mysteriously left $500 at the hotels front desk and disappears out the front door. The 5'1" 54 year old Ruth Ann then drove to a nearby country club joining her powerful, political, millionaire friends for a charity golf tournament. After receiving a page, Ruth Ann quietly slipped off the golf course. As she walks toward her SUV, Ruth Ann is surrounded by police, hand cuffed, and arrested. The charge.. Solicitation for murder. She had attempted to hire a hit man.
Her arrest was big news in DC. In Ruth Ann's car police found a red wig, a large stack of $100 dollar bills, a stolen Virginia license plate, books on hiring a hit man, and parts for a home made silencer. "Maybe I just lost" it Ruth Ann said to the detective who interviewed her. By nightfall, Ruth Ann Aron, known throughout DC as the wealthy and successful politician, the tough talking power player was behind bars. But who was Ruth Ann Aron trying to kill and why. The answers to those questions would shock and scare the pants off everyone weather they were involved in the case or not.
Born in 1942, Ruth Ann grew up in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Starting at a young age, she worked at a diner her parents owned in the small town of South Fallsburg. It was a very blue collar type of life that Ruth Ann got a taste of very early in life. And she didn't like what she saw. Ruth Ann became known as an intelligent loner. After high school she was accepted to prestigious Cornell University. In 1965 Ruth Ann married Barry Aron, a promising young medical student. The couple struggled financially while Barry finished medical school.
The couple soon had two children but Barry's thriving medical practice allowed the family to move to the comfortable suburb of Montgomery County Maryland. Many of the people who live in Montgomery live in the halls of power in the United States. Ruth Ann dove energetically into her role as a suburban housewife but life for her was more trouble than it appeared. In the early 70's Barry had an affair and the couple split up for a while. Barry moved out. He was having a relationship with another woman, a nurse that worked with him at his practice. But after he and Ruth Ann reconciled he moved back home.
Her husband's infidelity motivated Ruth Ann to focus on her own ambitions. She enrolled in Law school focusing on real estate. It was a lot for somebody to take on with small children at home. Armed with her law degree, Ruth Ann entered the lucrative world of Washington DC real estate, which was booming in the 1980's. Ruth Ann negotiated seven large real estate deals in ten years netting her millions of dollars in fees and bonuses. But it was also in this new found enterprise that Ruth Ann began exhibiting strangely aggressive behavior, which on more than one occasion landed her in court.
Attorney Aurthur Kahn had tried a case against her on behalf of some of her former business clients who had claimed she had defrauded them. According to Kahn what she had done to them was despicable but she denied completely. Despite her legal troubles Ruth Ann climbed her way up DC elite social and political ladders. With both her and Barry's careers on the fast track, they moved to a mansion in the exclusive community of Potomac Maryland. Everyone in the Washington DC area wants to live in Potomac before they die. It has the fanciest houses, the biggest houses, and the best schools. If you wanted a big house with some property around it for your horses, Potomac is where you found it.
If the Aron's lived anywhere else in America, they would be considered wildly successful. But in DC, it wasn't how much money you had it was how much political influence and power you had. Ruth Ann knew this and quickly set her sights on political office. Politics is not a game in DC. It is serious business and not all personality types are suited for it. One has to be aggressive but aggressive within reason. Ruth Ann's first step was to successfully lobby for a seat on Montgomery County's prestigious planning board. The group has enormous power over millions of dollars of real estate.
Ruth Ann had her first taste of being a public official and many think she became addicted at that point. As she spread her influence around the county she proudly revealed an unusual hobby. She loved guns. Ruth Ann was often seen at local shooting ranges firing her pistols. She wielded her power at the planning board ruthlessly. On one occasion she was screaming at a little old lady to the point where the other members had to calm her down and remind her of the age of the lady she was talking to. It was clear that Ruth Ann was becoming addicted to the power as well as the politics.
The minute Ruth Ann got on the planning board she was immediately seeking higher office. The county Council and the State Legislature to be exact. But few of her colleagues expected what happened next. Ruth Ann's name came to the attention of a group of Washington power brokers at the republican national committee who were looking for a strong female candidate to run for the US Senate from Maryland. Overjoyed at the opportunity, Ruth Ann jumped at the chance. Most around her were stunned when they found out. Most candidate's work there way up to that position. It was generally felt that she was not ready for such a position.
While aggressively fundraising, Ruth Ann hired the best political consultants money could buy. But just as her unlikely candidacy began to gather steam, Ruth Ann received shocking news. Her 77 year old Father, David Greenseigh had been brutally murdered in his home. Ruth Ann's campaign for US Senate came to a screeching halt. It turns out to be a handyman and a drifter who accosted her Father. The motive was apparently robbery. At a press conference on August 26, Ruth Ann's husband Barry Aron, now a prominent Washington DC urologist, announced that Ruth Ann was in seclusion to deal with the grief surrounding her loss.
Ruth Ann traveled to her home of South Fallsburg New york to attend her Father's funeral. But curiously, she showed little interest in the investigation of her Father's murder. From the investigation, to the arrest to the trial, Ruth Ann never contacted anyone from the Fallsburg police department. Ruth Ann played the dutiful daughter at the funeral, politely shaking hands and accepting condolences but in fact Ruth Ann and her father hated each other. His will read
"I specifically and unequivocally leave absolutely nothing to my Daughter, Ruth Ann Aron, who has been cruel to me".
Just days after the funeral, Ruth Ann threw herself back into the campaign for US Senate. She went from grieving Daughter back to candidate extremely fast. One couldn't tell anything was wrong with her much less that there had been a family tragedy. By now Ruth Ann had been challenged in the race by former Tennessee Senator William Brock III. Brock was better connected and had even more money that Ruth Ann. He quickly overtook her in the polls. Desperate to regain her front runner status, Ruth Ann began to use her Father's murder as a political tool. With Brock's poll numbers skyrocketing, Ruth Ann began running negative attack ads. Brock struck back at a press conference, accusing Ruth Ann of being convicted of fraud in the 1980's.
This kind of campaign is nothing new to DC, of course, the trick is to have a thick skin and not to take it personally. Apparently, Ruth Ann hadn't got that particular memo. She bitterly fought Brock to the bitter end. But on election day in the fall of 1994, the results came in.. Brock had won. Ruth Ann was absolutely devastated by the loss. The campaign proved that she was in way over her head. Barry Aron once called Ruth Ann exquisitely sensitive and anyone who is exquisitely sensitive should not be running for office at that level. In the gentleman's club of Washington politics, the losing candidate in a primary is supposed to congratulate the victor an pledge his/her support. So what did Ruth Ann do? She took him to court.
Ruth Ann sued Brock for liable claiming that her reputation had been ruined by Brock's ads that she had been convicted of fraud. While it is true that she had been sued civilly and lost, technically she had not been convicted. At her liable trial, her old nemesis Attorney Aurthur Kahn testified about his legal problems with Ruth Ann in the 1980's. He told how Ruth Ann had allegedly defrauded his clients, two of her former real estate partners, for $300,000. Largely as a result of his testimony she lost her suit. Something which Aurthur Kahn took particular delight in. And Ruth Ann remembered that.
With her career in turmoil, things began to go awry in her personal life as well. Her already volatile marriage to Barry was crumbling. Ruth Ann and Barry's relationship took a turn for the worse on Halloween, 1995. The couple is having an argument about finances and Ruth Ann grabs his wallet and begins ripping up $20 dollar bills. He pushes her and she falls down and gets up and goes in her bedroom and when Barry follows her in she sitting at the edge of the bed pointing a gun at him saying "if you take another step I will kill you".
Ruth Ann attempted to save the relationship but Barry wanted a divorce. With her marriage once again in crisis, Ruth Ann did what she always did, she threw herself back into her work. She launched a political comeback, announcing her candidacy for a seat on the elite Montgomery County Council. But Ruth Ann's political ambition was verging on obsession. Her entire identity became to depend on her life in public office. Something in her brain told her that anything that got in her way of public office had to be removed. It is probably just that simple.
It was around this time that Ruth Ann began to secretly visit the website of Paladin Press, a soldier of fortune publisher in Colorado. She was particularly interested in the company's most notorious publication "Hit Man". A manual for independent contractors. Something was going on in the Mind of Ruth Ann Aron that was about to transfer her from a well meaning public servant into a notorious criminal who would be feared for years to come.
In the midst of her political campaign for a seat on the prestigious Montgomery County Council, Ruth Ann Aron visited a Home Depot and purchased two lawn mower mufflers, which are commonly used as homemade silencers. At the same time, Ruth Ann's crumbling marriage to Barry Aron was going from bad to worse. Convinced that he was seeing other women, Ruth Ann had not allowed Barry to sleep in the bedroom for years. One day Barry left Ruth Ann which read "I am going to have an affair if you want to and if you don't like it you can shoot yourself in the head".
Between her husband's mind games and Ruth Ann's over the top ambition, this was a situation headed for trouble. On a warm June morning in 1997, a local businessman named Billy Mossberg was having breakfast at a hotel in Rockville Maryland. On his way out the door he bumped into a casual acquantance.. Ruth Ann Aron. She tells Barry that she needs to talk to him and was it OK if she called him over the weekend. He told her sure. The owner of a large waste transfer station in the outer suburbs, Billy had had his share of trouble with local government, and was one of the most controversial characters in the area.
Billy was wary of anyone in power, but when Ruth Ann called he reluctantly agreed to meet her at a place called JJ Muldoons which was right up the street. All Billy had on his mind was watching the NASCAR races which were on that day. Sitting across the booth from Ruth Ann Billy kept his eyes glued to the TV, only half listening to Ruth Ann until he heard an astonishing request. Ruth Ann told Billy that she wanted to have some people eliminated. It struck Billy that Ruth Ann was a serious as a New York second. Ruth Ann wanted somebody murdered and asked Billy to help her. She never mentioned the name of her intended victim and Billy was frightened by her request. He also believes he is being set up.
In a near panic he rushes home to try to figure out what to do. Reluctant to call anyone in power he needs to find someone he trusts. He phones the FBI but doubting his story Agents brush him off. Billy decided he had to take a chance and contact someone trustworthy in local government. He contacted US States Attorney Robert Dean and says he needs to talk to him. Dean tells him he is available the next afternoon but Billy says no it has to be now. At Dean's suggestion Billy met him at a public place, the Woodside Deli in Silver spring Maryland. Sitting down at the table Billy tells the prosecutor that Ruth Ann Aron had asked him to arrange a murder.
At first Dean thinks Billy must have misunderstood Ruth Ann. Dean then asks Billy who he trusts to which Billy replies "I don't really trust any of you". Despite his doubts Dean brought Billy Mossberg to police headquarters in Rockville Maryland. Of course the most important thing was to find out if anyone was at risk right now. Billy was questioned by skeptical detectives suspicious because Billy could not name any of the intended victims. It was an absolute interrogation. Billy Mossberg was so terrified that he was going to end up in jail for framing Ruth Ann that at lunch when he went to a nearby Wendys he ordered to extra cheeseburgers think that it was his last meal as a free man.
In any event although they needed more information, the police started a criminal investigation and possible prosecution. One of the Sargeants asks Billy if he was willing to help them to which Billy replies "What do you think I am here for"? So the police got Billy into his car and wired up his cell phone and asked him to call Ruth Ann. He did and they listened and they were suddenly converted.
Billy: "Ruth Ann"
Ruth Ann: "Billy!"
Billy: "How are you doing"
Ruth Ann: "I'm OK, that was fun talking last Sunday. There are very few people left in life you can really talk to".
Billy: "On the other matter that we were talking about?"
Ruth Ann: "Yes, you want to get together again this weekend?", "Here's what I need to do.. I need to sit with you"
Ruth Ann: " Ask you some questions, I got to make sure that you and I are going to be OK.. safe I mean"
This conversation corroborated Billy's story as she referred the last conversation she had with Billy.
The police had Billy set up another meeting with Ruth Ann. There must have been some concern when Ruth Ann decided to hold the meeting at the local shooting range. The police had a surveillance van at the range and a recording device on Billy.
Ruth Ann: "I bought this gun, I was at a gun show and I bought this Beretta, I bought it now I have to go learn what to do with it"
Billy gives Ruth Ann the phone number of the supposed Hit Man.
Billy: "I made my contact"
Ruth Ann: "Right"
Billy: "I told him a had a lady that needed a job done."
Ruth Ann: "How do you know he is reliable Billy?"
Billy: "I really can't tell you just let it be at that"
Ruth Ann: But do you trust this person?"
Billy: "Look, all I know is from what I've heard the guy can be trusted."
Ruth Ann: "What does he charge?"
Billy: "That depends on what you want."
But the phone number would not connect Ruth Ann to a real hit man but to Detective Terry Ryan, a Montgomery County policeman.
The next morning Ruth Ann drove all the way across the county to an anonymous payphone at a Sears in a fading strip mall. There she called Detective Ryan believing he was an actual hit man.
Det. Ryan: "You don't know me"
Ruth Ann: "Right"
Det. Ryan: "I don't know you"
Ruth Ann: "It's better that way"
Det. Ryan: "It's good"
Ruth Ann: "I want to read about somebody in the obits.. Is that too blunt?"
Det Ryan: "No it's not blunt at all. How we get him there is what we need to talk about.""
Ruth Ann: "Yeah"
Det. Ryan: "I'm not playing games you understand me?"
Ruth Ann: "I hope you don't think I am"
Ryan agreed to carry out a murder on Ruth Ann's behalf for $10,000 cash. Payment they agreed would be made when the victims name appeared in the obituaries in the newspaper. The Detective then ask for the identities of the desired victims. Ruth Ann revealed to him the name of the person she wanted murdered. Ruth Ann: "Last name K-A-H-N."
Det Ryan: "First name?"
Ruth Ann: "Aurthur."
The hit was to be made against Aurthur Kahn. The Lawyer who had testified against her in her liable suit against her political rival William Brock.
Detective Ryan and his team needed to move fast. They had to gather enough hard evidence to arrest Ruth Ann before she could hire another hit man or do the job herself. Meanwhile Ruth Ann was getting nervous about her plan. She obsessively paged Billy Mossberg for reassurance.
Ruth Ann: "Hey Billy"
Ruth Ann: " You wouldn't set me up would you?"
Billy: "Why would I want to set you up?"
Ruth Ann: "You think this guy is for real? He's not some kind of an undercover setup?"
Billy: "The contact that hooked me up with him, He owes me his life."
Ruth Ann: "I see."
Billy: "He said this guy is OK."
Ruth Ann: " Would you do me a favor sweetheart?
Ruth Ann: "You know I Love you right, Lets have a code name, Why don't we call me 'Sam'?"
Billy: "OK Sam."
The very next day Ruth Ann went to a pay phone at a strip mall near her Potomac home and paged Det. Ryan. She surprised him with a truly shocking request. She says she has a second person she wants killed. Ruth Ann ordered another murder and agreed to pay an additional $10,000 cash.
Ruth Ann: "There are two jobs. I sort of made up my mind as I told you yesterday. If I couldn't get it done I would do it myself. Now the second one definitely has to be an accident. He works in the office building next to the Shady Grove Hospital"
Det. Ryan: "The last name?"
Ruth Ann: "A like Apple, R-O-N, first name B-A-R-R-Y."
She gave him her husband's description and license plate number for his car although she never mentions that Barry Aron is her husband. Ryan ask Ruth Ann which one he should kill first, Aurthur Kahn or Barry Aron.
Det. Ryan: "Which one first?"
Ruth Ann: "The second one first"
That night Barry received a call from the super Market. Ruth Ann felt like eating Lobster, would Barry like to share in this special meal? He declined but the couple still had dinner that night. Ruth Ann enjoyed her lobster, Barry had a turkey burger, unaware that his wife had just ordered his murder.
Worried that Ruth Ann might carry out the murders herself, the police urgently move to put her plans to a halt. Det. Ryan told her to take $500 cash and put it in a padded envelope and put the name of a bogus company on the front and drop it off at the front desk at the Marriott in Gaithersberg. Little did Ruth Ann know that as she was preparing to make a down payment on two contract murders her every move was being watched. The area around the hotel was swarming with police officers and Detectives. She went to the farthest parking lot away from the lobby and wearing a big floppy hat, a wig, and a trench coat, she walked right in and dropped off the payment and was out of there in minutes. Before she had gotten very far down the road she had taken off the disguise.
After leaving the down payment for the murders, Ruth Ann headed for the golf course. While there she was chatting with her friends and shaking hands as any politician would like there was absolutely nothing wrong. Detective Ryan paged Ruth Ann one last time to make sure that this is really and truly what she wanted to have done. He told her that he had the down payment and unless she said otherwise the murders were a done deal. She replied in a very calm voice that this is what she wanted.
Det Ryan: "Were OK then?"
Ruth Ann: "Yeah"
Det Ryan: " Two weeks from when this happens I'll talk to you about the next one."
Ruth Ann: "Right"
Det Ryan: "I'm going to get out of here and do something."
Ruth Ann: "OK"
The police feel that they now have irrefutable evidence that Ruth Ann very calmly and coldly just solicited two murders. As Ruth Ann approached her car, the police move in and placed her under arrest. With Ruth Ann in custody, Detectives immediately went to work gathering evidence. Immediately after her arrest many believed that the police had made some sort of mistake. But Ruth Ann's SUV is littered with her murderous intentions. The investigators even wondered if she really planned to carry out the murders herself.
Police quickly entered the Aron's Potomac mansion. In Ruth Ann's bedroom they discover a large military assault rifle. Nearby they find a piece of paper with three names written on it; Barry Aron, Aurthur Kahn, and John Harrison, another lawyer who had testified against Ruth Ann in the past. Police believe this to be Ruth Ann's hit list. Most curious of All, Detectives find a prescription vial filled with a strange white powder. They sent the vial to the police lab for tests. Trying to piece together the puzzle, the police ask Barry Aron if he remembers anything odd happening recently. One night she offered to make him his favorite chili. He noticed that she was pouring some kind of whit stuff on his chili which he assumed was spices. While she didn't have any of it, Barry ate a bowl of it and then went to sit down on his favorite easy chair. He fell asleep and when he woke up the next morning he said he felt like he had been hit by a truck. The results from the lab confirm the detective's suspicions. The vial contained a potentially lethal dose of prescription drugs. Prosecutors added attempted murder to the two counts of solicitation to commit murder against Ruth Ann. Reports of Ruth Ann's alleged deadly chili spread like wildfire among the local press corp. The Washington post dubbed it "Ruth Ann's 5 alarm chili".
Within days Ruth Ann had assembled the best lawyers money could buy. Ruth Ann's lead attorney Barry Helfat, faced with overwhelming evidence against his client immediately raised the insanity defense. Most people feel that it is a charade and that somebody that is out on the golf course on day does not go crazy overnight. But the defense had a story and they were sticking to it and all those millions can buy a lot of testimony. The biggest trial in County history was about to begin and all of Montgomery was wondering the same thing. Could Ruth Ann convince a Jury that she was truly insane?
As her defense team got under way her they had a number of high priced psychiatric experts to testify to her mental instability. The defense stated that she suffered from psychology trauma caused by abuse from her Father when she was a child. The whole trial was a battle of the Doctors. The prosecution, who was not funded nearly as well as Ruth Ann, had eight Doctors while Ruth Ann had eight Doctors and each Doctor came up with a different came up with a different reason why Ruth Ann would have done something like this. One Doctor who testified for the defense claimed that Ruth Ann had a second personality named Alex Anders because that is the name she used when she ordered the soldier of fortune book titled "Hit Man". While no one would argue that Ruth Ann did not have issues but from the prosecutor's point of view that does not make her legally insane.
After six weeks of testimony the case ended abruptly in a mistrial because a single Juror who refused to convict hung the Jury. But Ruth Ann's legal troubles are far from over. Prosecutors immediately began preparing for a retrial. During the second trial, just before the case was going to the Jury she changed her plea and decided that she wasn't going to fight this anymore. Throwing herself on the mercy of the court Ruth Ann changed her plea to a plea of no contest, essentially admitting her guilt. On November 24th, 1998 Ruth Ann was sentenced to three years in the county jail after time served. Although the attempted murder charge for the infamous chili she allegedly server Barry had by now been dropped Ruth Ann's battles continued from behind bars.
Even after Ruth Ann went to jail, Ruth Ann wouldn't give up her beloved seat on the Montgomery County Planning board without a fight. Refusing to resign she forced the board to hold a public hearing and formally vote to remove her. In the midst of their ongoing divorce, Ruth Ann's husband Barry filed an additional $7 million dollar civil lawsuit against Ruth Ann for emotional distress. Ruth Ann counter sued for $24 million dollars claiming Barry over prescribed addictive medication to her, like Xanax, Valium, and Halcyon. The estranged couple ended their feud in 2001 with an undisclosed financial settlement.
By late 2001 Ruth Ann was released from jail and living under a new name in another state. But for some, a free Ruth Ann even hundreds of miles away was reason to be very nervous. Many people wonder if she has revenge on her mind. As Billy Mossberg puts it "Yes, she is capable of anything". There are a couple of morals to this story. Personal balance is certainly one. You can become so obsessed with trying to obtain you personal goals that you lose all perspective. It can also be said that power corrupts. It really wasn't worth it for Ruth Ann for in the end she lost it all, except maybe her money. And it should be noted that having money defiantly helps with legal problems as three years for two counts of solicitation of murder and one count of attempted murder is an very light sentence. There are a lot of under privileged folk in prison who would love to have that deal. And one final thought.. Don't mess with Ruth Ann Aron. Whoever would have thought that a 5'1" wealthy Potomac matron could instill such fear in a community? In the Washington DC area the name Ruth Ann Aron will forever notorious.
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