A former aspiring Montgomery County politician’s attempt to overturn a conviction for soliciting a hitman to murder her husband and another man was denied by the state’s Court of Special Appeals.
In 1997, Ruthann Aron, as she was then known, asked a local landfill owner to help her hire someone to kill her husband of more than 30 years, according to newspaper reports at the time and court records. Barry Aron was planning to divorce Ruthann, then 54, as she organized a campaign for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council.
The Arons lived in Potomac at the time. She worked as a developer and was on the county Planning Board. He was a successful urologist.
The landfill owner went directly to police, The Washington Post reported at the time, and helped organize a sting operation, capturing on tape Ruthann Aron’s attempts to organize the killings with a cop posing as a hitman.
She also asked the apparent hitman to kill a second man, a lawyer who had previously testified against her in a lawsuit stemming from her failed U.S. Senate campaign in 1994.
Aron’s attorneys argued during a trial in 1998 that she was mentally ill and solicited the hitman after a breakdown they said was caused by an emotionally abusive husband. They also said she has borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder, both of which can cause wide mood swings.
The first trial related to the charges ended in a hung jury. The second, also in 1998, ended in Aron pleading “nolo contendere”—meaning she accepted a conviction but did not admit guilt—to two charges of solicitation of murder. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison for each charge.
She has been known as Ruth Ann Aron Green since 2016, the year she filed a petition for “writ of error coram nobis,” essentially asking the court to vacate her convictions because, she argued, she had received ineffective assistance from her counsel. Ultimately, she agreed to withdraw her request with prejudice, and acknowledged in court that that meant she couldn’t raise the issue again, according to Court of Special Appeals records.
Last year, she again filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis, which was denied because the court found it was barred by the dismissal of her first petition. She appealed that decision, claiming the judge should have been more clear in 2016, and explicitly said the other option—to dismiss the petition without prejudice—meant she did have the right to raise the issue again.
Court transcripts show that the judge asked if Aron Green understood “that by withdrawing it with prejudice, you can’t bring it back again?” Aron Green responded: “Yes, I do.”
The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s decision to deny her petition, saying she “knowingly and intelligently dismissed her petition with prejudice.”
Since her release from prison, Aron Green has published a 700-plus page memoir, Corrupted Justice, in which she discusses the “truth” of the incident, according to a synopsis.
Her son, Joshua, was killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org