A Middletown man has admitted to shooting and killing his uncle last summer after a dispute that turned violent.
Denzel Fuller, 23, was indicted in September for murder with a gun specification, felonious assault, having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence for the slaying of Terry Fuller on Aug. 1, 2022.
On Tuesday, Fuller pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter with a three year gun specification, having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence. The remaining charges were dismissed.
Judge Dan Haughey ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for April 25.
Fuller faces a maximum of 20 years in prison with an additional five years that could be imposed if he misbehaves behind bars. He has been held in the Butler County Jail since Aug. 12 in lieu of $850,000 cash bond.
Defense attorney Lawrence Hawkins III, said after the hearing that Fuller considered his uncle a father figure and if he could change his actions, he would.
“He loved and loves his uncle,” Hawkins said.
Fuller shot 42-year-old Terry Fuller multiple times in the 2100 block of Grand Avenue in Middletown, according to police.
Middletown police were called at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 1 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. 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 last week, 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.
Staff Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this report