OHIO TOWNSHIP — A former Ashtabula woman accused in the fatal shooting of her toddler will appear in court next week for her preliminary hearing.
Joyceann L. Ruane, 25, who stabbed a man in the back in 2016 at a homeless camp in the Ashtabula Gulf, is being held on a $2 million bond at the Gallia County Jail. She is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, said Gallia County Prosecutor Jason Holdren.
A continuance was granted Wednesday morning and will be heard at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday in Gallipolis Municipal Court. The defendant did not appear in court. Ruane’s court-appointed attorney said new items of discovery were given to him by the prosecutors and he needed time to review them with his client.
If convicted, Ruane could get life in prison after 25 years, or 30 years; life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty, depending on the grand jury’s indictment, Holdren said Monday.
Holdren requested the $2 million bond because of Ruane’s past criminal record in Ashtabula County, where she faced a felonious assault charge in 2016. Ruane pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted felonious assault in May 2017. Ruane told the court she was defending her husband when she stabbed a 56-year-old man several times in the back. The victim suffered serious injuries, but recovered, according to reports.
Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Gary Yost sentenced Ruane to two years of “intensive supervision,” according to court records.
According to the complaint filed in Gallipolis Municipal Court, Gallia County 911 received a call at about 3:30 p.m. last Thursday to respond to a shooting on Double Creek Road, Crown City. Upon arrival, a detective with the Gallia Sheriff’s Office found a child victim (described as a 16-month female) with a gunshot wound to the head, but still breathing.
Ruane confessed to the detective at the scene, according to a copy of the complaint.
The detective provided immediate medical care to the child until an ambulance arrived. The child was transported to a Huntington, W.Va.-area hospital, where she died the next day.
Ruane was taken into custody at the scene without incident. She again confessed to police during an interview at the Sheriff’s Office, where she “acknowledged she had developed a plan, retrieved a gun and shot the child after an argument with the child’s father,” according to the complaint.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Gillia County Sheriff’s Department are investigating.