Judge sentences Middletown man who killed uncle

Denzel Fuller, 23, gets up to 25½ years in prison.

HAMILTON — The Fuller family lost one member when Terry Fuller, 42, was shot multiple times and killed Aug. 1, 2022, in the 2100 block of Grand Avenue in Middletown.

On Tuesday afternoon in Butler County Common Pleas Court, the family lost another member, Denzel Fuller, 23, who was sentenced up to 25½ years for shooting and killing his uncle.

Fuller was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years and a maximum of 16½ years on count one, voluntary manslaughter with a three-year mandatory sentence added for gun specifications, Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Dan Haughey said.

He also received three-year sentences for having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence.

Fuller was credited for the 281 days he has been incarcerated since Aug. 12 in the Butler County Jail.

Judge Haughey said: “There are no winners here. It’s a horrible situation.”

Fuller’s attorney, Lawrence Hawkins III, said his client “loved” his uncle who was more like “a father figure.”

Hawkins III said it’s a situation his client “wishes didn’t take place.”

Many of Fuller’s relatives attended the sentencing as they had throughout the court proceedings, Hawkins III told the judge.

“It’s not wonderful for the family,” he said.

Before he was sentenced, Fuller read from a hand-written note that was held by his attorney.

In part, he said he was sorry for his actions that caused pain to his extended family, including his 18-month-old daughter who, he said, “doesn’t understand right now.”

“I wake up everyday praying for forgiveness,” he said.

In closing, he told his family: “I love you all so much.”

Several members of his family yelled back they loved him too.

His daughter wore a T-Shirt that read: “Free DaDa. We love you.”

By the time Fuller is released from prison, his 18-month-old daughter could be about the same age he is now.

Middletown police were called at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 1, 2022, on a report of several shots fired near Grand Avenue and Wilson Street. Police Chief David Birk said the dispute between the two men started earlier in the night, then “rolled over” until the deadly shooting.

Terry Fuller died at the scene and his body was on the sidewalk curb when officers arrived. While no gun was recovered, police officers found more than 20 casings in the area.

Last summer at Fuller’s court appearance in Middletown Municipal Court, his mother and Terry Fuller’s sister, Tina Fuller, said her son “snapped,” he was scared for his life and he was protecting his family. She said her son was “not in the right state of mind” and the fatal shooting never should have happened.

Denzel Fuller previously was arrested in September 2017 for the robbery and assault of a pizza delivery driver on Hill Avenue in Middletown, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to robbery, a third-degree felony, in Butler County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to two years in prison.

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