Man Found Guilty of Murdering Victim With a Baseball Bat

Joshua Richard Ruoff.

Joshua Richard Ruoff

Press release from the Mendocino District Attorney’s Office:

A Mendocino County Superior Court jury on Friday (June 29) returned from its deliberations just before noon with a guilty verdict of first degree murder against defendant Joshua Richard Ruoff.

Ruoff, age 32, formerly of New Hampshire, was found guilty of the willful, deliberate and premeditated murder of Timothy Sweeting on May 18, 2016 at a Covelo marijuana operation in remote Round Valley.

The jury also found true a sentencing enhancement that the defendant personally used a baseball bat in the commission of the murder.

Timothy Sweeting

Timothy Sweeting

After the jury was thanked and excused, the defendant’s matter was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. It is anticipated that the defendant will be sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison when he returns to court at 9 a.m. July 20 in Department H of the Mendocino County Courthouse in downtown Ukiah.

The prosecutor was Assistant District Attorney Rick Welsh. The investigating law enforcement agencies who gathered the evidence to support today’s conviction were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the network of Department of Justice crime laboratories, the New Hampshire State Police, and the New York State Police,

Special thanks are also extended to the experts in forensic anthropology from California State University Chico who directed the recovery of the deceased’s body from a shallow grave. Finally, the DA wants to thank Dr. Jacquelyn Benjamin, the forensic pathologist, who flew in from New Jersey to provide important testimony for the jury.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke presided over the 10-day trial. He will also be the sentencing judge. Individuals interested in this case or this defendant are welcome to attend that July hearing date.

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