By Paul Rubin
Minutes after a jury convicted Robert Stanley Ortloff of murdering 20-year-old Kathleen Smith back in October 1984, one of her brothers summed it all up perectly.
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"I felt it could go either way because of all the time that had passed and because there wasn't the physical evidence," said Kevin Smith, a fine fellow who runs a landscaping business. "But I think the jury listened to all of the evidence and came up with the right verdict."
Back in the courtroom, lead defense attorney Dan Patterson continued to shake his head in disbelief as he packed his things, shook his client's hand, and stepped out into the hallway. As Patterson passed by Kevin Smith politely wished him well and said without rancor, "You did a good job, Mr. Patterson." Patterson thanked the victim's brother and went on his way, If truth be told, the verdict devastated the veteran attorney, who considered the case one of the weakest prosecution cases he'd come up against in three decades of litigating.
As for deputy county attorney Noel Levy--now in the homestretch of a long career at the Office of the Maricopa County Attorney--he responded to his big win with dignity and grace. "I wasn't anxious about this trial," he said immediately afterward, "though it certainly was a challenging case. My anxiety left me just before the trial because I thought the evidence was solid. And so did the jury."
More coming about this verdict in next week's paper, Lord (the editor) willing,