Jury Refuses To Indict Wife In Killing

Man, 60, Was Killed As Couple Apparently Struggled Over Rifle

Pair Separated At Time

Accident Occurred While They Divided Their Possessions

April 24, 1997|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County grand jury cleared a prominent Annapolis woman in the death of her estranged husband, who was shot to death last Halloween as the couple apparently struggled with a hunting rifle in their bedroom.

Ruby Fuller, 59, was cleared by a grand jury Monday in the death of her husband of 30 years, William Fuller, 60.

The grand jury reached its decision behind closed doors Monday, but Annapolis police announced it yesterday.

"Mrs. Fuller gave a statement to police and indicated that they were struggling over the gun and that it went off. From that, we couldn't prove that her statement was incorrect," Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee confirmed.

Mrs. Fuller, who has volunteered for about 20 years as a fund-raiser and receptionist at the Anne Arundel Medical Center, did not testify, Weathersbee said.

But he said the 23-member grand jury, whose deliberations are secret, based its decision on evidence from an extensive police investigation.

"I'm not saying it was an accident, and I'm not saying it wasn't an accident. I'm just saying we presented the evidence that we had, and a grand jury did not find it sufficient for an indictment," Weathersbee said.

William Fuller, 60, was shot in the left armpit about 3: 30 p.m. The hunting rifle had belonged to William L. Fuller Jr., the couple's 's 32-year-old son who died of cancer about two months before the shooting, police said.

The husband, a part-time salesman for an Annapolis air freight company, had moved out of the couple's home in the 1900 block of Hunt Meadow Drive about six months before the shooting and was living in the Towson area, said Annapolis police Detective Peter Medley.

Medley said that the shooting occurred after a day of arguments between husband and wife over who was entitled to laptop computers, clothes and other personal property that they were dividing as their 30-year marriage was ending.

"There were things he had that she wanted back and things she had that he wanted back," Medley said.

Medley said that Annapolis police were called to the Eastport Post Office about four hours before the shooting because Mrs. Fuller had blocked her husband's car and refused to move.

"The officers had to tell her to leave," Medley said.

About two hours later, Mrs. Fuller showed up at the Defense Highway offices of her husband's physician, Dr. William H. Choate. While her husband kept his appointment, Mrs. Fuller retrieved valuables from his car that she claimed belonged to her. The shooting occurred when Mr. Fuller returned to the house to get the valuables back, the detective said.

The two were alone in the home, and Mrs. Fuller called police afterward, Medley said.

Medley said neurological specialists at Johns Hopkins Hospital had been treating the husband for physical ailments that would have made it difficult for him to be a physical threat to anyone.

"He wasn't exactly a physical specimen, is what I'm saying," Medley said.

The couple had two other sons, Richard Fuller of Riva and Francis Fuller of Bowie, Medley said.

Members of the Fuller family did not return phone calls yesterday, and Medley declined to comment on the grand jury's decision.

Mrs. Fuller's neighbors and friends expressed relief.

"That's great news. She's a wonderful person," said William Pitcher, a neighbor.

Mrs. Fuller has been a member of the board of directors of the Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation Inc., the hospital's fund-raising arm, for at least 10 years, said Lisa Hillman, a medical center vice president and the foundation's executive director.

Hillman said Fuller also belongs to the hospital auxiliary that staffs the facility's gift shop and reception desk.

Hillman said Fuller hasn't participated in any hospital activities since the shooting.

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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