According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Troy Root, 36, was sentenced to prison for 15 to 75 years in 1996 for two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition. He had been indicted in 1999 for retaliation for sending threatening letters to the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor's Office and got three additional years added to his sentence.
On Friday in the Scioto County Common Pleas Court of Judge William Marshall, Root pleaded guilty to another three counts of retaliation and received four years on each count. The sentences to be carried out consecutively for a total of 12 years.
In September 2004, the Ohio State Highway Patrol began an investigation into Root after a Tuscarawas County judge and prosecutors got letters in August 2004 threatening their lives and the lives of their relatives. Root was indicted by the Scioto County grand jury in November and Assistant Prosecutor Joe Hale handled the case for the state.
“They were awful graphic letters. I think he did it to scare the judges and prosecutors who put him in prison,” said Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn.
In one letter, Root wrote one victim “that he was coming for” him and threatened to kill him and to torture and kill his wife. He said he was going to escape from SOCF with help from the prison employees and he included a diagram of his cell block. He ended the letter with “Sincerely yours, longtime enemy, Troy Root.”
In a second letter, Root wrote to another person saying that he was going to kill him, his wife and his son. He included a picture of the guard towers and fences that surround SOCF. A third letter to a judge also included threats.
“I'm assuming he (included the picture) to try and convince the people he was really going to escape,” Kuhn said. “I don't think there was any more of risk of Root escaping than anyone else out at SOCF, but I think he wanted to make his victims think he could escape.”
Root is now in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Without these new charges, Root's next probation hearing would have been in 2010. Tuscarawas County is 200 miles northeast of Portsmouth.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.