Wednesday, March 24, 1999

New lead in death of UC student

Inmate suggests robbers used sex to lure traveler

The Associated Press

        WAYNESBURG, Pa. — A prison inmate claims he knows a couple who lured a male traveler to a hotel room for sex before fatally shooting him in St. Clairsville, Ohio — the same city where a University of Cincinnati medical student was apparently killed in the woods behind a hotel.

        Richard Marz is serving 11/2 to three years at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill for his role in a lucrative heroin ring. Mr. Marz detailed his allegations in a letter to Greene County District Attorney David Pollock, who passed the letter on to Ohio authorities investigating the fatal shooting of Anthony Proviano.

        In his letter, Mr. Marz claimed Douglas Ray Main, 37, and his girl friend, Marlene Smith, 43, had been “pulling this sex-robbery (expletive deleted) for years,” according to an affidavit filed by Olen Martin, chief deputy in the Belmont County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office.

        Mr. Marz quoted Mr. Main as saying that Ms. Smith, 43, had met a man at a “bar or restaurant” in St. Clairsville and lured him back to a hotel, where he was robbed and shot.

        Mr. Proviano's body was found Dec. 28, 1997, behind a Days Inn where he had registered in St. Clairsville, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Mr. Proviano, 29, a second-year medical student, was headed home to suburban Pittsburgh for Christmas.

        His family and friends rejected a coroner's initial conclusion that Mr. Proviano killed himself and pushed St. Clairsville police, as well as investigators in Cincinnati, to pursue the case. The family hired a medical examiner to study the case. He said he could not rule out the possibility of homicide.

        Mr. Proviano was a popular student at the University of Cincinnati, and friends doubted he committed suicide. Now as the investigation is turning up new leads, there is a sense justice will happen, said Helen Kollus, a former lab partner of Mr. Proviano.

        “We knew all along that there is now way he committed suicide,” Ms. Kollus said.

        Police obtained fingerprints and hair samples from Mr. Main, who is serving a nine- to 18-month sentence at the Greene County Jail on heroin charges. Deputy Martin has interviewed Mr. Main and tried to interview Ms. Smith, who is also serving a sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Lycoming. She refused to give hair and fingerprint samples.

        The affidavit also details a conversation that Mr. Main had with another inmate, Charles Dailey Jr., who authorities described as the leader of the heroin ring in Pennsylvania.

        Mr. Dailey said he and Mr. Main were in St. Clairsville to shoplift merchandise from a Lowe's lumber store last April when Mr. Main expressed concern about being arrested.

        Mr. Dailey quoted Mr. Main as saying he tried to rob a man a few months earlier but the man drew a gun on him. Mr. Main said he shot the man with his own gun but wasn't sure if he survived, Mr. Dailey said.

        Mr. Proviano owned the gun used to kill him, and its case was found in his gym bag in his car, police said.

        Mr. Dailey quoted Mr. Main as saying he had hit “the guy so hard he knocked him out of his shoes.” Mr. Proviano was found with his right shoe off, Deputy Martin said.

        Phillip Pina contributed to this story.


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