Published Thursday, March 23, 2000
Witness: Fuller braggedabout shooting teen
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Motive was revenge, his friend says
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DEFENSE EXPECTEDTO TEAR APARTHER TESTIMONY
By Hal Johnson
Daronica Cozart testified Wednesday that her friend Ronald L. Fuller told her he killed Jeremy Farrand. As Fuller’s murder trial continues today in Mercer, defense attorney Wayne Hundertmark was expected to try and tear apart Ms. Cozart’s testimony.
Fuller, Ms. Cozart told the jury in Mercer County Judge Michael J. Wherry’s courtroom, seemed proud of killing the 13-year-old Sharon boy on May 29. Fuller also indicated he shot the boy to get back at Lindsey Lowe, Ms. Cozart said.
Fuller, 24, of Farrell is charged with first- and third-degree murder, burglary and possessing a prohibited offensive weapon and an instrument of crime in connection with the boy’s death. Jeremy was killed by a shotgun blast in the kitchen of his 575 Prindle St. home.
Prosecutors allege Fuller shot Jeremy in an attempt to get revenge on Lowe, who agreed to testify against Ms. Cozart and others involved in a Feb. 25, 1999, robbery in Sharon. Lowe, of Sharon, was known to frequent the Prindle Street address.
Ms. Cozart, 22, of Hermitage, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the murder case, her attorney, Ted Isoldi of Mercer, testified. She has not been sentenced for the robbery.
Hundertmark noted in questioning Isoldi that Ms. Cozart, of Sharon, did not agree to plead guilty until after she found out that Lowe, one of the robbery co-conspirators, would testify against her. Isoldi said prosecutors had other evidence and Ms. Cozart admitted she was guilty of driving the getaway car.
Hours after Ms. Cozart was released from Mercer County Jail on bail May 28, she said, Fuller asked her where Lowe hung out. She said she told Fuller about 575 Prindle St. Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Timothy R. Bonner, Ms. Cozart said she did not know that Fuller would go to the house to kill Lowe or someone there.
Ms. Cozart said she saw Fuller and his girlfriend, Regina Campbell, at about 2 a.m. on May 29 in Ms. Campbell’s car outside a party in Farrell. Fuller was wearing a red, black and white jersey, she said. Red indicates the Bloods street gang, of which Fuller was a member, according to Ms. Cozart.
Ms. Cozart said she expressed concern about going to jail for the robbery to Fuller. His response, she testified, was: “Don’t worry about it. Just read the paper. I made blood for you.”
Ms. Campbell also told her to read a paper, Ms. Cozart said.
On May 30, Ms. Cozart said, Fuller asked her if she read the newspaper. When she said she didn’t, Fuller got a newspaper to show her.
The Herald’s main headline that day was: “Eighth-grader shot to death; police seeking gunman.”
“He (Fuller) was smiling. When I stopped, he told me to keep reading. He followed me as I read. He said, ‘Yeah, I did that.’ ... He said, ‘I made this little boy famous, like in the news. I left him in my favorite color. If I can’t get him, I will get this one he loved,’ ” Ms. Cozart said. She said Fuller was referring to Lowe.
Fuller was “happy, proud,” she said. “He wanted me to give him a hug or something. He felt good. He wasn’t feeling a bit guilty,” Ms. Cozart said.
“I’ve got to show this to my girl,” she recalled Fuller as saying. He was referring to Ms. Campbell, she said.
Ms. Cozart also testified to seeing two shotgun shells on a dresser in Fuller and Ms. Campbell’s home and noted that Fuller was wearing a red bandanna on his belt the day after Jeremy was killed.
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