Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Jurors still out in girl's killing


Hamilton man accused in daughter's death

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON - A Butler County jury failed to reach a verdict Monday in the trial of a man who is accused of killing his 2-year-old daughter after attempting to rape her.

        The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for 5 1/2 hours on the charges against Christopher Fuller before being sequestered overnight in a Hamilton hotel by Common Pleas Judge Matthew Crehan. The jury will resume deliberations this morning.

        Mr. Fuller, 29, of Hamilton, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted rape. His daughter, Randi, died from suffocation on March 21.

        Witnesses testified during the trial that he brought Randi's lifeless body into a corner grocery store next door to his house on Sycamore Street and asked for assistance.

        Besides aggravated murder, the jury considered three less serious charges: murder while attempting to commit rape, murder while committing felonious assault, and involuntary manslaughter.

        Mr. Fuller's attorneys told the jury in closing arguments that he did not intend to kill Randi.

        “If his aim was to have her dead, he wouldn't have tried to revive her,” Christopher Pagan said.

        The other defense attorney, Ron Morgan, questioned the reliability of the statements police said Mr. Fuller made to them within hours of Randi's death.

        Police said that Mr. Fuller at first told them Randi choked on a glass of water, but later admitted that he pushed her down and hit her twice in the chest, police said.

        They said that near the end of three hours and 45 minutes of interrogation, Mr. Fuller told them he had become angry when she resisted his attempt to sexually assault her. He also admitted to sexually assaulting her on two previous occasions, police said.

        Mr. Fuller signed statements that he dictated to police detectives. But Mr. Morgan accused the detectives of leaving out important things Mr. Fuller told them and typing a statement that suited their own purposes.

        At a court hearing earlier this month, Mr. Fuller said he told police what he thought they wanted to hear so that they would let him alone.

        In his closing argument, interim Butler County Prosecutor Dan Gattermeyer said Mr. Fuller pressed on Ran di's chest and mouth with the intention of killing her. He pointed out that two pathologists testified that it takes at least four minutes of pressure to cause someone to suffocate.

        “It's a four-minute-long process of killing her,” Mr. Gattermeyer said, while displaying an autopsy photo of Randi's bruised face on the courtroom TV monitor. “He made a decision to kill her. It wasn't an accident.”

        Pinpoint hemorrhaging on Randi's chest and left eyelid and the swelling of her brain prove she died of suffocation, he said. The bruises on her chest and face and Mr. Fuller's statement to police indicate how she was killed, he said.

        Randi was one month shy of her third birthday.

        “A little girl did't get to see her third birthday,” Mr. Gattermeyer told the jury, “because her father decided he wanted to have sex with her.”

       



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