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Published: Thursday, 7/20/2006

Ex-wife describes meeting with Doren

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Doren, left. Doren, left.
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BOWLING GREEN - The day after Deana Meeks was found murdered in her Northwood home, Ralph Doren called his wife and asked her to meet him at a Toledo tavern.

When news of the homicide flashed across the television screen above the bar, Marjorie Dick said Doren told her it was Miss Meeks who had been killed then looked away.

"He turned his head. He got real quiet and didn't say no more," she testified yesterday during her ex-husband's murder trial, which was expected to wrap up in Wood County Common Pleas Court by early next week.

Ms. Dick said she had not seen Doren at all the day of the slaying, that evening, or the next morning. She said before that, they had been to the home of Boyd "Smitty" Smith - where Miss Meeks lived - several times because Doren worked on cars with Mr. Smith.

Ms. Dick said she had met Miss Meeks, but she and Doren never spoke of her again after the killing.

Upon questioning by Assistant Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson, Ms. Dick said she and Doren regularly attended funerals of relatives and friends, but they didn't attend Miss Meeks' funeral.

When asked if she knew why not, Ms. Dick said, "He wouldn't talk about it."

Doren, 56, is charged with slashing the neck of Miss Meeks in the kitchen of the Lester Avenue home she shared with her mother and Mr. Smith.

Prosecutors allege Doren went to Mr. Smith's house June 7, 1991, to steal money he knew was kept in the house but was surprised by Miss Meeks.

Crime scene investigators have not been able to show they found fingerprints, blood, or DNA belonging to Doren at the scene.

Todd Wharton, a forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, testified yesterday that he was asked in 1997 to compare Doren's fingerprints to some previously unidentified prints that had been lifted from the crime scene, but none of them matched.

Doren, who has been in prison in Michigan since 1993 for an unrelated criminal sexual conduct conviction, became a suspect in the Meeks homicide in 1997 after Wood County investigators received an anonymous letter stating that he had information about the case.

Doren, they said, told them he knew who killed Miss Meeks and would identify her killer if they could arrange his immediate release from prison.

As evidence of his knowledge about the case, he told them where they could find jewelry and coins that had been stolen from Mr. Smith's house the day she was killed.

After the property was found, investigators informed Doren they could not convince a judge to release him early from prison, and he refused to talk to them further about the case.

Earlier this week, three men Doren was formerly in prison with testified that Doren told them he killed Meeks.

Contact Jennifer Feehan

at jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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