ELYRIA — Summer Rush testified Tuesday that she ran into her daughter’s room and grabbed the child to protect her while gunshots rang out in a G-Street duplex in Lorain on April 26, 2005.
After the shooting stopped, she emerged and found her child’s father, William “B.J.” Fiske III, bleeding and calling 911.
“I saw blood coming from down his forehead,” Rush said. “I was scared out of my mind.”
Rush’s testimony came as the murder and attempted murder trial of 18-year-old Justin Chapman got under way in Common Pleas Court.
Prosecutors contend Chapman, then 14, joined two other teens on a mission to rob Fiske in his G Street home.
Fiske, a small-time drug dealer, recovered but still has six bullets in his body, mostly in his back and shoulders.
The murder charge relates to the death of one of the alleged accomplices, 19-year-old Darren English, who was shot and later died after fleeing.
Rush fought back tears as she testified, while Chapman sat expressionless in baggy pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
Rush said she was lying in a bedroom when Fiske was shot and she did not see his attackers, who Fiske said were dressed in dark clothing and wearing makeshift masks. She said she did not hear a knock at the door but heard a scuffle, the gunshots and Fiske moaning.
Rush, who has since separated from Fiske, said the 6-foot-4-inch father of her child was once a strapping 300 pounds, but he is now “very, very skinny.”
In opening statements, Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Riedthaler asked the jury to hold Chapman responsible for the choices that left English dead and Fiske severely wounded.
Defense attorney Kenneth Lieux asked the jury to listen carefully to facts that are in dispute. The third participant, Chapman’s cousin Julian Smith, traded a life sentence for a sentence of 13 years in exchange for his cooperation, Lieux said.
In an earlier trial, a jury convicted Chapman on charges of murder and attempted murder, and he was sentenced to
35 years to life in prison.
But the 9th District Court of Appeals ruled that the deal prosecutors cut with Chapman’s cousin was improper and ordered that Chapman be re-tried.
Prior to that conviction, prosecutors offered Chapman a plea deal that would have kept him in the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services until he turned 21, but Chapman and his mother rejected the deal. As a result, Chapman was bound over from the juvenile system to be tried as an adult.
He also is being tried on charges of aggravated burglary, felonious assault, possession of criminal tools, tampering with evidence and having weapons under disability.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or email@example.com.