Man jailed in 1992 slaying of rival furniture salesman

AP News
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Posted: Oct 13, 2015 7:13 PM
Man jailed in 1992 slaying of rival furniture salesman

CINCINNATI (AP) — A man arrested in Arizona in the 23-year-old slaying of a rival furniture salesman will be arraigned Wednesday on a murder charge in Ohio.

Court and jail records showed that Sam Perone, 67, was being held without bond in Warren County Jail after waiving extradition.

Warren County authorities announced last week that Perone was arrested at his Phoenix home on a murder indictment in the death of Richard Woods, a 41-year-old Columbus-area furniture salesman last seen alive Oct. 8, 1992. They didn't discuss a motive in the case but said Perone and Woods were competitors.

Authorities say they believe Woods was fatally shot in the head in the back of Perone's furniture store, Just Living Rooms, in Lebanon. His body was found in a wooded area a month later.

A message left Tuesday for Perone's attorney was not immediately returned.

Prosecutor David Fornshell has said it's a challenging case. Authorities indicated that cold-case investigators were helped by DNA and other forensic advancements and continued public interest in the case that brought out more witnesses.

Perone has previously denied involvement in Woods' slaying. He closed the store years ago, and it's not clear when he moved to Phoenix.

He is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning before Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda.

During a hearing last Friday in Maricopa County, Arizona, Perone complained that he and his wife were awakened early that morning by "a truck ramming into my house" and both were soon handcuffed. His wife wasn't charged and was released, he said, but he wanted to remain jailed in Arizona as long as possible so she could see him.

The judge, who repeatedly told him not to discuss his case, said it was an Ohio warrant for him and she couldn't intervene.

"They (the Warren County police) didn't want to miss the Ohio State game, I guess," Perone told the judge. Perone then chuckled, referring to the top-ranked Buckeyes' college football team.

Sheriff's spokesman Maj. John Burke said it was important to get Perone back as soon as possible and start the prosecution.

"The sooner that's done, the sooner we can get justice done," Burke said.

Investigators have described Woods as a popular, successful salesman. They said his wife hired a private investigator after he didn't call home as expected the night he was last seen. Warren County authorities said she has remarried since, and that she expressed relief about the arrest in the case.

"His last stop that day was at Sam Perone's furniture store," Warren County Sheriff's Lt. John Faine said when the arrest was announced. "That stop was the last time Richard was ever seen alive."

A sheriff's official earlier called it a coincidence that Perone's arrest was announced last week on the 23rd anniversary of Woods' disappearance.

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