Phelps has status conference

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Brandon Michael Phelps, 21, 1281 Birch St., appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Fregiato on a status conference Monday to provide the evidence of statements for the court reporter to transcribe.

The court also reviewed educational exemptions from the jury selection.

Judge Fregiato also granted a defense motion for reconsidering victim impact testimony.

Phelps and co-defendant Devin Wayne Fuller, 20, 3567 Franklin St., Bellaire are accused of four counts of aggravated murder, committed in the course of rape, of aggravated burglary, of burglary and of trespassing. Each count of murder carries a death penalty specification.

Both face two additional counts of trespassing. Phelps is also accused of possession of a deadly weapon while under detention, a felony of the first degree.

The crimes were alleged to have taken place June of 2012. The victim, Lydia Ashworth, was found dead in her home.

DeFrank can be reached at