Inmate Heath is currently confined as result of his convictions in both Hamilton County and Warren County. In 1994, he was convicted of aggravated burglary, attempted murder, burglary, and felonious assault in Hamilton County. Thereafter, in 1996, he was convicted of murder in Warren County, Ohio. Although these convictions occurred within a year of each other, they are the result of criminal acts of violence which occurred over a ten-year period.
In 1985, Heath was living in Mason, Ohio with Ms. Cox. On Oct. 22, 1985, Ms. Cox failed to report to work and was reported as missing. Heath was the last person to see her alive on the morning of October 22, 1985.
On October 30, 1985, the victim’s partially clothed body was discovered in a remote field in Mason, Ohio. A cigarette lighter, cigarette butt, and crushed beer can were found near her body. It was determined that she had been strangled to death five to ten days before her body was discovered. Initially, Heath denied any knowledge of the murder. Over the ensuing years, he gave several different statements to law enforcement officers which resulted in his indictment for murder in 1994. Thereafter, Heath made a statement in which he admitted that he had choked Cox to death following a fight. He then stated that he took her body to a remote area and that he pulled her pants down and ripped her blouse to make it look like she had been sexually assaulted. On April 18, 1996, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to fifteen years to life in imprisonment, which was ordered to be served consecutively to the sentences imposed by Hamilton County.
The Hamilton County convictions arose from Heath’s relationship with Ms. Lauderback, whom Heath had married in 1992. In early 1994, Ms. Lauderback decided to divorce Heath and left the marital residence. She subsequently filed for divorce and obtained a protection order from the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
On May 19, 1994, Heath called Lauderback at her place of employment and told her that she should not go home because she had “no home to go to”. When the victim responded to her residence with police officers, they found that the house had been broken into. Paint thinner and paint was poured on every item of clothing and everything of value had been tampered with or destroyed. They found a note in the kitchen signed by Heath bragging about what he had done and threatening to “get her”. Heath also called Ms. Lauderback on the telephone several times, including when police officers where present.
On the morning of May 23, 1994, the victim had planned to go to Columbus, Ohio, to renew a liquor license. She arrived at her business at approximately 9:45 in the morning and her body was discovered by a vendor about two hours later. She was suffering from a bullet wound that entered her skull midway between the left eye and left ear, and she was near death. She was able to identify Heath as the person who had shot her. A subsequent investigation revealed that Heath had followed her into the bar, robbed her of several thousand dollars, and shot her with a small handgun. Subsequently, Heath was convicted of aggravated burglary stemming from the May 19, 1994 incident as well as attempted murder, burglary, and felonious assault from the May 23, 1994 incident.
As the result of his convictions in Hamilton County, Heath received consecutive sentences totaling approximately twenty-eight to sixty-five years in prison, plus a three-year firearm specification. In Warren County, his conviction for murder resulted in a sentence of fifteen years to life to be served consecutively to the Hamilton County charges.
Gary Heath is an individual who over a period of less than ten years killed one woman and nearly killed another woman. Both were individuals with whom he had relationships, and both were violently assaulted.
These convictions are not Heath’s only contacts with the criminal justice system. He was convicted of receiving stolen property in 1982 and breaking and entering in 1979. On both cases, it appears that he was paroled from prison, violated his parole, and was returned to prison.