Fuller’s murder trial nears

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Devin Wayne Fuller, 19, 3567 Franklin St., Bellaire, appeared before Belmont Common Pleas Judge John M. Solovan II Friday for a status conference and to finalize preparations for the upcoming trial and next month’s jury pool.

Fuller and Brandon Michael Phelps, 20, 1281 Birch St., Bellaire, are charged with four counts of aggravated murder, committed in the course of rape, of aggravated burglary, of burglary and of trespassing.

Each count carries a death penalty specification. Both face two additional counts of trespassing.

Solovan heard an update on lab results. Prosecutor Chris Berhalter reported lab testing is complete. Attorneys Kirk McVay and William Mooney for the defense reported a forensic expert will be regarding lab reports for background DNA evidence.

Numerous motions related to trial conduct were also heard.

The trial date has been set for Feb. 18.

The next pre-trial was set for Oct. 11, 1 p.m., with a jury pool to begin later that day.

The crimes are alleged to have taken place June 29-30. The victim, Lydia Ashworth, was found dead in her home.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com