LeAnne Gendreau

Man Charged With Murder in 2017 Killing of New Haven Woman

A man has been charged with murder in the 2017 death of a New Haven woman.

Police secured an arrest warrant for 58-year-old John Henry Smith Jr. on Tuesday. Smith is accused of killing 52-year-old Sherri Ruffin in her home on Jennings Way in May 2017. Ruffin's body was found in her home on May 4.

At the time, her cause of death was ruled compression of the neck, and the manner of death homicide.

As the months passed since her murder, neighbors were on edge wondering who might be responsible and if they were safe.

Smith was charged with felony murder and first-degree strangulation. His bond was set at $3 million. He is also in prison at Osborn Correctional Institute for an unrelated case.

“I’m very relieved. I can’t, they finally got him. And nobody has to worry about feeling unsafe in the neighborhood," said Jennifer Pickering, a former neighbor of Ruffin.

Pickering and other neighbors who spoke with NBC Connecticut did not recognize Smith.

At this point, police have not revealed if the victim knew the man now accused of this horrible crime.

Ruffin's former housing case manager Raven Hodge said, “Sherri was a kind and strong woman. She was always willing to lend a helping hand and she didn’t deserve to die the way she did.”

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