DNA is tough to beat in court of law

DAN FRY hit a grand slam with his first major case as Belmont County prosecuting attorney.

Fry led the state’s case in the capital murder trial of Devin Wayne Fuller. He was convicted on three charges in the June 2012 death of Lydia Ashworth. The 92-year-old lived alone in West Bellaire.

Her brutal death has been well chronicled, but the graphic nature of the murder is one that continues to resonate.

Fry was assisted by Paul Scarsella from the state attorney general’s office and Assistant Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan.

They delivered their case in quick and obviously very convincing fashion. I was surprised that the trial wrapped up in less than a week once it officially started on Monday.

Fry and his staff’s masterful performance was augmented by a host of law enforcement agencies, starting with the initial response by the Bellaire Police Department. All the agencies obviously did their homework, displayed teamwork and determination to build a strong case against Fuller.

I really love Fry’s final comment Thursday during his closing arguments in the trial, “DNA exonerates you, and DNA convicts you.”

Fry was right on. Justice was served.


MATT HISSOM is one of the young rising stars in high school basketball officiating. The Barnesville native has been honored for his quality court by being selected to work the Ohio Division III boys’ championship game on March 22.

It marks the third time he has been tapped to work the Buckeye State’s premier hoop event. Matt officiated the 2013 girls’ Division II state finals pitting Hathaway Brown and West Holmes. In 2011, Matt worked the girls’ Division II semifinal between Dayton Carroll and Clyde.

The Barnesville High science teacher has officiated six regional tournaments. The 37-year-old has been officiating for 13 years.

This year’s state title game will climax a 65-game officiating season for Hissom.

Matt’s officiating prowess comes as no surprise. His father, Joe, is also one of the Buckeye State’s finest. Joe has worked four state tournaments in Ohio.

Father and son worked together in Friday’s Division III district final between Garaway and Martins Ferry at OUE.

Matt, a one-time Barnesville boys’ head track coach, was recently married, tying the knot with the former Larissa Ponzani in October.


DESPITE REPORTS to the contrary, the Bellaire IAC is still under club ownership. A Bellaire business is reportedly interested in purchasing the building. But nothing has been finalized. The IAC still owns it.

OHIO PUBLIC school students moved outside of their home districts as part of the state’s open-enrollment process at a record pace last year. A published report noted that 72,000 students sought education in another district, leading to $360 million in public-school funding being shifted from one community to another. Open enrollment was put in place to enable students pursue better academic options. Instead, most of the moves are athletic-related.

TUESDAY NIGHT was prep basketball at its best when Ohio University Eastern hosted a Division III district doubleheader. The Garaway-Fort Frye and Union Local-Martins Ferry twinbill yielded two great games, an overflow turnout and an electric setting. OUE should be the mecca for all Eastern District hoop tournament contests.

JOSH MANDEL’S trek to Cadiz Tuesday reinforces my thinking that the state treasurer and former U.S. Marine is laying the foundation for a gubernatorial run after John Kasich is re-elected and finishes a second term.

POTHOLES litter Ohio Valley roadways. The worst stretch I have encountered is Willow Grove Road. We took that route heading to OUE Tuesday night for the district hoop twinbill. the road is a virtual minefield.

THE COACHING profession needs more Ben Porters. After losing the heartbreaking district basketball game against Martins Ferry Tuesday, ending a magical season, the Jets’ classy coach offered to scout for the Purple all the way in Athens.

IT WAS great seeing Warren Hood at Martins Ferry’s district finals basketball game against Garaway Friday night. The former Purple Riders’ athletic director has been dealing with a myriad of major health issues for an elongated time. Warren was in great spirits, looked healthy and appearing on the road to good health.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline. com