Thursday, March 23, 2000

Man charged with raping, killing daughter, 2




BY STEVE KEMME
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Christopher Fuller carried his 2-year-old daughter, limp and unconscious, into the corner grocery next to his house on Sycamore Street Tuesday afternoon, a clerk there says.

        Terry Thomin took the girl from Mr. Fuller and laid her on the tile floor in front of the Sycamore Market's deli counter. He called 911 and administered CPR until the Hamilton Life Squad arrived.

        But it was too late. Randi Fuller, who would have been 3 next month, was pronounced dead at Mercy North Hospital of Hamilton. On Wednesday,Mr. Fuller sat in a Butler County Jail cell, accused of raping and killing her.

        Mr. Thomin said Mr. Fuller wasn't emotional, but seemed concerned. “He said he found her that way,” he said. “She had a lot of bruises on her right side, her legs and her arms. Her face was turning blue. I just did what I could for her.”

        Mr. Fuller was arraigned in Hamilton Municipal Court Wednesday and charged with murder, two counts of rape, attempted rape and felonious assault. Judge John Rosmarin ordered him to be held without bond. His preliminary hearing will be Wednesday. “This is a horrendous crime,” said Hamilton Police Officer Dave Crawford. Butler County Coroner Dr. Richard Burkhardt said an autopsy will be completed today.There was no early indication

        of what caused the girl's death.

        Police arrested Mr. Fuller, 29, on Tuesday night after interviewing him, Officer Crawford said.

        Butler County Children Services received an anonymous neglect complaint in December concerning the Fuller family, said Bob Gerhardt, chairman of the Children Services Board. A caseworker made two unannounced visits to the home, interviewed the parents and examined the children, he said.

        “There were no signs of physical or sexual abuse at that time,” Mr. Gerhardt said. “The case was closed in January.”

        He said he believes the agency handled the case appropriately. But Children Services has asked an outside agency to examine the case to see if anything could have been done better, he said.

        At the request of the police, Mr. Fuller's 1-year-old daughter was handed over to Children Services on Tuesday and was placed in a temporary foster home.

        Officer Crawford said police do not suspect Randi's mother, Jessica Fuller, of having any connection to the alleged crimes.

        Mr. Fuller, who worked as a cook at the White Castle restaurant on South Erie Boulevard in Hamilton, had no criminal record, he said.

        Randi's death shocked and angered residents in Hamilton's high-crime District 2 neighborhood, east of downtown.

        “I've seen junkies buying crack and guys getting stabbed, but not a 2-year-old being murdered,” said Scott Robbins, a Hamilton resident who used to live in District 2.

        He said he knew Mr. Fuller only casually from seeing him around the neighborhood.

        Residents said the Fullers moved into the 600 block of Sycamore Street just two weeks ago from another house in the neighborhood.

        A man who answered the door at the Fullers' house Wednesday said no one wanted to talk. A woman who answered the phone at the house of Mr. Fuller's mother identified herself as Mr. Fuller's sister and said the family didn't want to comment.

        Randi's death shook up Bob Johns, who lives in a two-family house next to the Fullers.

        “It scares me,” he said. “I have a big collie who stays in the house when I'm at work because of this neighborhood. A lot of people around here have large dogs for protection.”

        James Rutherford, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, watched Mr. Thomin's vain efforts to save Randi's life.

        “It's a sad situation,” he said. “I've seen it all around here. But I never dreamed of something like this happening.”

       



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