Fuller Found Guilty of Aggravated Murder, Sentencing Monday - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Devon Fuller Found Guilty of Aggravated Murder, Sentencing Monday

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UPDATE:

Devon Fuller has been found guilty on three of four charges in the murder and rape of a 92-year-old Bellaire woman in 2012.

The verdict was handed down at 3:30 p.m Thursday.

Fuller was found guilty of aggravated murder, specifically that of purposely causing death while committing aggravated burglary. He was also found guilty of one count of aggravated burglary and one count of burglary.

He was found not guilty of aggravated murder with the specification of purposely causing  death while committing rape.

Fuller could face the death penalty. The sentencing phase will begin on Monday.


UPDATE:

The jury continued deliberations in the murder trial of Devon Fuller on Thursday afternoon.

Fuller is the man charged with raping and murdering 92-year-old Lydia Ashworth from Bellaire. After two days of emotional testimony from witnesses called by the prosecution, on Wednesday, the defense called their only two witnesses - Fuller's mother and step-brother.
After a recess, each side was given a final chance to make their case.

If convicted, Fuller could face the death penalty.

 


 

UPDATE:

Day two of the Devon Fuller murder trial was under way in Belmont County on Tuesday.

Opening statements were given on Monday, followed by three witness taking the stand, including emotional testimony from Lydia Ashworth's daughter, who found her dead. On Tuesday, the prosecution focused on DNA evidence, hair in particular, while the defense questioned the methods used to collect and analyze that evidence.

The state called an expert witness to the stand, a forensic scientist with the Ohio BCI, who investigated Ashworth's case. The scientist, Andrew Sawin, prepared several reports after analyzing evidence collected from the crime scene - bed sheets, a vacuum filter, a rape kit and other swabs. He testified that urine and blood stains were found on the sheets from Ashworth's bed. He also testified that several human hairs that did not match Ashworth's were found on the sheets and in the filter. Sawin described them as dark brown or black and reddish brown and said only a few of the hairs were suitable for nuclear DNA analysis.

Much of Tuesday morning's testimony had focused on the procures that BCI has allowed while examining the evidence. Under cross examination, the defense questioned those procedures and their reliability.

Stay with us for updates on the case.

 


 

ORIGINAL STORY:

The trial for a man accused of raping and murdering a 92-year-old Bellaire woman began on Monday in Belmont County.

Devon Fuller, along with Brandon Phelps, is one of the men accused in the rape and murder of  Lydia Ashworth in 2012. Jurors were given their instructions shortly after 9 a.m., after which the state and the defense both gave their openings statements.

The first witness called to the stand, Sylvia Eimer, daughter of Lydia Ashworth, testified that it was she who found her mother dead in her home on June 30 of 2012. Eimer also testified about the hours leading up to the night of June 29, and what she found when she entered her mother's home the next day. She broke into tears several times while recalling the events, how the door frame was hanging off the wall, and her screams when she ran back to her mother's room and found her.

She ended her testimony by saying her mother was the "most amazing person she knew, she worked hard and did not deserve this."

Called next to the stand was Rissa Dutcher, the ex-girlfriend of Brandon Phelps, Fuller's co-defendant. Dutcher testified that she had known both of the defendants for at least ten years. She testified that she overheard Devon Fuller say to Phelps, "What's done is done," at a friend's house several days after the murder. Dutcher gave a statement to Bellaire Police about the statement on August 3 of 2012.

The court recessed at 11:30 for lunch and was set to resume later Monday afternoon. Stay with us for updates.