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Published: Tuesday, 9/14/2010

Library to be host to true-crime author Frank Stiles

Frank Stiles has written his latest book, 'Blind Trust,' about the slayings of two elderly women - a mother and daughter - in Ottawa Hills in 1975. Frank Stiles has written his latest book, 'Blind Trust,' about the slayings of two elderly women - a mother and daughter - in Ottawa Hills in 1975.
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Local true-crime writer Frank Stiles will speak about his latest book, Blind Trust, and the murder case it details, at the Rossford Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Blind Trust deals with the gruesome murders of two elderly women, a mother and daughter, in their Ottawa Hills home in 1975. Theirs were the upscale village's first murders.

Mr. Stiles, then a young Toledo police detective, was assigned to the case when the village police chief requested help.

In short order, he determined that the bludgeoning deaths were not the work of a burglar, as Ottawa Hills police believed, but the premeditated act of family members who were impatient for their inheritance and their hired killer.

Mr. Stiles obtained confessions from the three culprits, who were sentenced to death. The sentences were commuted to life in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that Ohio's capital punishment law was unconstitutional.

Today, 35 years later, the case remains fresh in Mr. Stiles' mind.

"I always thought it was a book that should be written," he said from the office in downtown Toledo where he is the chief investigator for the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office. He retired from the Toledo Police Department after 25 years.

The appearance at the Rossford library won't be Mr. Stiles' first. He spoke there about his first true-crime book, Evil Brothers, which was published in 2008 and details another case he solved, that of two brothers who were serial killers.

The library has a base of true-crime readers, and Mr. Stiles' appearance is expected to be well attended, said Kristine Goldsmith, the library's public relations coordinator.

"He's a very engaging speaker. He makes you feel as if you are there," she said. "But for anything that's local, we usually have a pretty big audience."

Mr. Stiles describes his books as local history - "Not history we can be proud of, but local history."

He writes part time now, in an office above his garage. He said that when he retires from the prosecutor's office, he plans to make writing more of a full-time endeavor. He also would like to hire himself out as a lecturer to police departments across the country.

And of course, he'll continue to correspond with his readers, who send him e-mails by the hundreds.

"They want to give me their recollections," he said.



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