That ruling was announced Monday morning.
Ross County Coroner Dr. John Gabis has announced that the October 16th, 2011 death of Harry Smith was a "homicide". The ruling comes after months of ongoing investigative work, according to a press release submitted by the coroner's office.
Smith was found in his State Route 772 home last October with injuries to his head. Several fires had been set in the home.
Shortly after the discovery, Dr Gabis knew death was due to blunt force trauma. The second part of the ruling- the manner of death- could not be determined until all the evidence had been gathered and analyzed.
Dr. Gabis said the investigation had continued unabated since last October, but wasn't until June 8th when all participating law enforcement investigators went over the latest evidence and tests collected, that their determination on cause of death was finally made.
Dr. Gabis is quoted in the press release saying "The cause of death is not always apparent." He added "We have one chance to get the right finding, and it would be a disservice to Mr Smith, his family, law enforcement and the community to base such a finding on first impressions or speculation".
In an official statement from Ross County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff George Lavender dispelled "the rumor that the focus of the investigation was on suicide, or that (his) office has ever publicly suggested that Mr. Smith committed suicide." He added that investigators will continue the investigation and seek justice for Smith.