Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Father convicted of killing his 2-year-old daughter

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Butler County jury convicted a Hamilton father Tuesday of aggravated murder and attempted rape for the brutal death of his 2-year-old daughter.

        Christopher Fuller stood impassively as Common Pleas Judge Matthew Crehan read the verdicts. His wife, Jessica Fuller, smiled broadly and hugged her parents.

        “We felt like it's a very appropriate verdict,” Butler County Prosecutor Dan Gattermeyer said. “It's a very sad case any time a little child dies.”

        The sentencing phase of the trial begins today. After hearing testimony, the jury will decide whether to recommend a death sentence, life in prison without parole, or life with parole eligibility after 25 or 30 years. Judge Crehan will impose the sentence. The law does not permit him to give Mr. Fuller a harsher sentence than the jury recommends, but he may hand down a more lenient sentence.

        Mr. Fuller had told police that he became angry during the afternoon of March 21 when his daughter, Randi, resisted his attempt to sexually assault her in their Hamilton house, according to trial testimony. He said he struck her twice in the chest.

        He also told police that he had raped Randi in May 1999 and last February.

        Pathologists testified that Randi died of suffocation. They said someone covered her mouth and pressed on her chest for at least four minutes.

        They said that the bruises on her chest and face and pinpoint hemorrhaging on her chest and left eyelid proved she suffocated.

        Mr. Fuller's attorneys had argued that Mr. Fuller did not intend to kill Randi. They asked the jury to consider convicting him of the lesser charges of murder or involuntary manslaughter.

        But Mr. Gattermeyer said the way the girl died indicated an intent to kill.

        The jury of seven men and five women returned its verdict after deliberating for 5 1/2 hours Monday and two hours Tuesday.


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