Thursday, March 30, 2000

Death of 2-year-old described

Case goes to grand jury

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A city police officer said in court Wednesday that Christopher Fuller told him he became angry after his 2-year-old daughter refused his request “for some loving.”

        “He said he pushed her down on the floor and struck her twice in the chest with an open hand,” Hamilton Police Officer John Nethers testified Wednesday in Hamilton Municipal Court. “As a result of that, she had seizures, went limp and quit breathing.”

        Brandi Fuller, who would have been 3 next month, was pronounced dead later that day, March 21, at Mercy North Hospital of Hamilton.

        Judge John Rosmarin sent the case to a Butler County grand jury and ordered Mr. Fuller to be held at the Butler County Jail without bond.

        Mr. Fuller, 29, has been held at the jail since his arrest March 21. He is charged with murder, two counts of rape, attempted rape and felonious assault.

        About 2:30 p.m., Mr. Fuller carried his unconscious daughter into a grocery store next to his house on Sycamore Street in Hamilton. The store clerk called 911 because Mr. Fuller had no telephone in his house. The clerk and life squad paramedics tried to revive the girl.

        Officer Nethers said Mr. Fuller initially told him that Brandi and her 1-year-old sister were sitting on the couch when he briefly left the living room. He said when he returned, Brandi was lying on the couch, having convulsions.

        But during a three-hour interview at the Hamilton police station, Mr. Fuller admitted that he became angry when he asked Brandi “for some loving” and she said no, Officer Nethers said.

        “We asked him why he would get mad and if loving just meant getting hugs,” he said. “He said he was talking about having sex with her.”

        He confessed to sexually assaulting Brandi two previous times — last month and in May 1999, Officer Nethers said.

        Butler County Coroner Dr. Richard Burkhardt testified that Brandi died of multiple violent injuries.

        She had a ruptured stomach possibly caused by a sharp blow, cuts, bruises on her chest and jaw, scrapes on her nose and rectal tears that could indicate sexual abuse, he said.

        After the hearing, Mr. Fuller's attorney, Ron Morgan, said he had concerns about how voluntary his client's statements to the police were.

        Police have said Brandi's mother, Jessica Fuller, had no connection to the alleged crimes.


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