ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Defense attorneys for accused murderer Devin Wayne Fuller on Friday visited the Bellaire home where 92-year-old Lydia Ashworth was killed.
Fuller, 19, of 3567 Franklin St., Bellaire also appeared before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John M. Solovan II for a pretrial conference. He and Brandon Michael Phelps, 20, of 1281 Birch St., Bellaire each are charged with four counts of aggravated murder committed in the course of rape, aggravated burglary, burglary and trespassing.
Each murder count carries two death penalty specifications. Ashworth was found dead in her home in June.
Fuller arrived in court using a wheelchair after reportedly sustaining a minor injury to his knee.
Solovan granted a request Friday by defense attorneys to view the Bellaire crime scene that day.
"As part of the discovery, the defendant has the right to view the scene where the crime occurred and that's what's occurring today. His counsel is going to view the scene of the crime," said Prosecutor Chris Berhalter. "We're complying with all of the discovery requests made by the defendant, not only to ensure he has a fair trial but so we can move this matter forward."
He added that all procedures will be followed.
"Going to where this crime occurred is going to be difficult, there's no doubt. It was a scene of one of the most brutal crimes that I believe Belmont County experienced," Berhalter added. "However, it is necessary to continue to move this matter forward, and that is exactly what we want to occur."
Solovan also granted a request that Fuller be allowed to appear in court without restraints, with the provision that the sheriff's department will be consulted in the matter. Phelps' defense made a similar request to Judge Jennifer Sargus.
Berhalter said Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation tests in the case were continuing with no timeline of when results might be available. Another pretrial conference will be held at 1 p.m. March 1.