Fuller gets life with no parole

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Devin Wayne Fuller will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Fuller, 21, 3567 Franklin St., Bellaire, was sentenced Thursday by Common Pleas Court Judge John M. Solovan II. The duty of passing sentence fell to Solovan after the jury reached an irreconcilable deadlock after two solid days of deliberation.

Solovan sentenced Fuller to life without the possibility of parole. He was given credit for 519 days in custody.

Last week, Fuller was found guilty of one count of aggravated murder committed in the course of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated burglary and one count of burglary.

Lydia Ashworth, 92, was found murdered in her Bellaire home June 30, 2012.

“You certainly were provided a fair trial,” he said, noting the victim impact information and the brutal murder of Ashworth in her own home and noted Fuller’s demeanor. “This court cannot and will not ignore the fact that since you were arrestednot once have you expressed an ounce of remorse for Lydia Ashworth and the harm that you have caused her family. Not once have you assumed any responsibility or accountability for your acts.”

Although defense asked for mitigation, Solovan noted that the deadlocked jury had already afforded Fuller the mitigation of sparing him the death penalty.

“You have no appreciation of the impact you have had on the lives of so many people of the county,” he said. “You are deserving of this sentence.”

Afterward, Prosecutor Dan Fry said Ashworth’s family could gain some closure from this horrendous crime.

“We believed at that time that death was a proper sentence given the crime, however we understand that is a jury question. The jury could not decide that. I respect the jury’s decision, but on behalf of the state I respectfully disagree with it.”

“The last two weeks have been very stressful for everyone involved in this trial,” said Bellaire Police Chief Michael Kovalyk, adding that the family and the West Bellaire community were impacted. “In my 35 years as a police officer in Bellaire, I have never seen such a horrendous crime, and I hope I never see one again.”

He added that he had been a lifelong friend of Ashworth.

Fuller will have the option to appeal.

His co-defendant is Brandon Michael Phelps, 1281 Birch St., Bellaire, will begin his trial March 27.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com