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Marietta, Ohio — A former sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an ex-colleague more than three decades ago because the victim had fired him for inappropriate conduct, authorities said.

Mitchell Ruble, 63, was indicted by a grand jury and arrested Tuesday in the February 1981 shotgun slaying of Deputy Lt. Ray “Joe” Clark, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.

Clark was watching a basketball game on TV when he went into the kitchen for a snack and was shot in the head through a window.

Sheriff Larry Mincks said Clark had fired Ruble in December 1979 for inappropriate conduct while on duty.

Ruble made no comment Tuesday when asked about the charges as he was led to jail, The Marietta Times reported. Jail records did not indicate if he had an attorney Wednesday.

Mincks said leads on the case have been followed over the last three decades, but efforts to find the killer were ramped up in January 2011 with the creation of a cold case squad in the sheriff’s office. He said an anonymous tip apparently provided the necessary connection to charge Ruble with the crime.

“This case was a prime reason we put the cold case squad together,” he said. “We had answered every complaint and followed every tip, and finally in 2011 we were able to begin nailing a few things down.”

Mincks wouldn’t say what led to Ruble being fired from the sheriff’s office, but afterward he worked he worked for 25 years with the Noble Correctional Institute near Caldwell.

Special prosecutors from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office are handling the case at the request of the county prosecutor’s office.

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