Police had just questioned him for the second time,
taken his blood and scoured his truck for evidence after following him
for days. Then they sent him home. "I'm vindicated. They don't have
nothing on me," neighbor Thomas Ward recalled Fuhr saying.
Yesterday, Fuhr, a 33-year-old tree trimmer, was
charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Shawna L. Sowers, 30,
and Lisa A. Crow, 36. He also is a suspect in the slaying of Kimberly
Rodgers, 29. All three were prostitutes, police said.
Columbus police were led to Fuhr on Thanksgiving
morning through a pickup truck found near Ohio Wire Form and Spring on
S. High Street, where Crow's body had been discovered that morning.
The truck belonged to Fuhr's boss, Terry Laymon, who
told investigators that he had loaned it to Fuhr the day before
With the aid of neighbors, police camped outside
Fuhr's mobile home in Old Trailer Court off E. Main Street and
"He knew he was a suspect and so did we," Laymon said.
Fuhr had spent Thanksgiving Day and the night before
at the home of his ex-wife, Terri D. Byers, on Mithoff Street in Merion
Village. She said they knew police were following them on Friday.
"I was giving him a ride to his trailer, and they
were following us," Byers said. "It was an unmarked car with tinted
windows. There was no mistaking it." Byers, 27, and Fuhr married in
August 1999. She said his cocaine addiction destroyed their marriage.
When their divorce became final in May, she was granted custody of their
son, who is nearly 2 years old.
Byers, a lifetime South Side resident, said she met
Fuhr about four years ago when he moved to Columbus from New York.
Although their relationship was marked by periods of
violence, Byers said she was stunned by the charges against Fuhr.
"He'd get upset like any husband and we'd bicker, but
for him to kill someone? No, I can't imagine him doing that," she said.
There was a history of domestic disturbances in the
household, the divorce file showed. On Jan. 28, 2000, Fuhr pleaded
guilty to domestic violence.
"He choked me one time, and it was for about five
seconds and it wasn't bad enough where I couldn't breathe," Byers said.
She said she knew nothing about Fuhr frequenting
prostitutes, which police alleged.
Byers discovered that Fuhr was a cocaine addict
shortly after the birth of their son, she said.
"He was disappearing and money would come up missing.
I'd go out driving around trying to find him," she said.
Byers said that his disappearances lasted a few hours
to three or four days and that he refused to say where he'd been.
"Cocaine owned Christian," she said. "He couldn't say
One of Fuhr's hangouts was the New Point Tavern, 2631
Parsons Ave. Bartenders and patrons there said they never saw any sign
that Fuhr used drugs or patronized prostitutes.
"He was friendly, never caused problems," bartender
Gary Maynard said. "When I seen that on the news, it blew me away," he
said of the charges against Fuhr.
But Maynard and the bar's patrons said they weren't
surprised that the suspect is someone they know.
"Everybody said all along, 'It's gonna be someone we
know,'" he said. "On the south end, everybody knows everybody."
A bartender at the Friendly Tavern, 1766 Parsons
Ave., said Fuhr made only one visit to that bar, but it was a memorable
He said Fuhr came in by himself one day last week and
soon was "kissing on" two women at the bar. The three left together and
returned after a couple of hours. Fuhr then approached another woman at
the bar and kissed her, biting her lip, said the bartender, who asked
not to be named. Fuhr eventually left by himself. The next day, homicide
detectives stopped at the Friendly Tavern to ask about Fuhr's visit. The
bartender said they also showed him a photograph of Crow, the third
Neighbors in his Whitehall trailer park had a
different impression of Fuhr, as someone who is arrogant and quick-tempered.
"If he didn't think he was the best, he'd try to be,"
one neighbor said.
But to girlfriend Ammie Turos, Fuhr has been a
perfect gentleman during the three months they have dated. The Whitehall
woman said she trusts him; she even spent Friday night with him after
she learned he was a murder suspect.
"I can't say a bad thing about him," she said,
although the couple had argued about where he had been the night before
Turos had loaned Fuhr her cellphone and tried to call
him numerous times on Nov. 21, but he never answered.
She didn't hear from him until at about 6 a.m. on
Thanksgiving, when he called asking for a ride. Angry, Turos refused.
Crow's body was found shortly before 1 p.m. on
Detectives obtained samples of Fuhr's blood on Monday
through a court-ordered search warrant. Yesterday, they were still
waiting for test results, such as DNA evidence.
More than a dozen detectives met Tuesday to discuss
the progress in the investigation. It appears now that they decided to
charge Fuhr at that meeting. Yesterday, Fuhr agreed to come to Central
Police Headquarters for a third interview. Detectives, communicating by
radio, followed Fuhr in several vehicles to the interview.
Once inside, Fuhr reportedly asked for a lawyer. He
was arrested after 3 p.m. Police spokesman Sgt. Earl W. Smith would not
say whether physical evidence, witnesses, Fuhr's statements or a
combination of the three led to the charges. "Clearly, he is a suspect
in Kimberly Rodgers' death, but we are still pursuing other leads as
well," Smith said. "Detectives said his name surfaced fairly early in
the investigation. We do know that he did associate with prostitutes and
he was known to be a crack user."
Police had been reluctant to call the slayings the
work of a serial killer, but had called in the FBI and sent out a
nationwide computer alert about the unsolved slayings.
"This is probably one of the best examples of
cooperation within law enforcement across the board," Smith said after
In the end, Columbus detectives said they solved the
case without help from outside agencies.
New York records show Fuhr served 28 months in prison
on a conviction of possession of stolen property. He was released in May
The three victims were white women found within a
half-mile of one another between Nov. 7 and last Thursday.
Police and Franklin County Coroner Brad Lewis have
refused to be specific about the cause of death.
Rodgers, whose body was found Nov. 7 in a cornfield
off Groveport Road, was strangled.
Sowers, whose body was found Nov. 18 at a
construction site 30 yards away, had a broken neck.
Crow, a mother of four, was found behind a business
at 2270 S. High St. Lewis said Crow suffered "blunt trauma," but Crow's
mother said a funeral director told her that she also had been strangled.
Unlike the other victims, Crow had no convictions for
prostitution, but Jean Crow said she was involved in it.
Despite the publicity surrounding the case, six
female prostitutes, including five on the South Side, were arrested this
week, according to jail records.
Suspect denies South Side
The Columbus Dispatch
Friday, November 30, 2001
Christian Fuhr's ex-wife sat in the front row
yesterday when he made his initial appearance in Franklin County
Municipal Court on charges that he murdered two South Side women.
She wasn't there to support him.
"He makes me sick," Terri D. Byers said as she left
the courthouse. "Christian is a very mentally ill man."
Although he won't enter a plea until next month, Fuhr
said he is not responsible for the slayings.
"He totally and vehemently denies these charges,"
said Max Sutton, a public defender who represented Fuhr yesterday in
Standing, Fuhr kept his head up and looked straight
ahead as his case was announced.
The 33-year-old tree trimmer is charged with two
counts of murder in the deaths of Shawna L. Sowers, 30, and Lisa A. Crow,
36. He is a suspect in the slaying of Kimberly D. Rodgers, 29.
Police have said all three were prostitutes.
Fuhr has cooperated with Columbus police, Sutton told
Municipal Judge Scott D. VanDerKarr. He was arrested Wednesday when he
went to Central Police Headquarters for a third interview in the
Given the nature of the offenses, Assistant
Prosecutor Dale Blankenship requested that Fuhr be held without bail or
with a "very high'' bail. VanDerKarr set bail at $1 million.
Byers said she needed to see the court appearance and
"didn't want to wait for the noon news."
"I was hoping he would have no bond at all," she said.
"Why the judge did that, I have no idea."
As Byers was leaving the courtroom, she approached a
crying woman and discovered she was related to one of the victims.
"I told her I'm so sorry. I feel so bad, and there's
nothing I can do about it. . . . I'm shaking," Byers said, looking down
at her trembling hands. Byers' 19-month marriage to Fuhr ended in
divorce in May, a breakup she blames on his cocaine use.
She was granted custody of their son, who is almost 2
"I have no idea what I'm going to tell his son when
he grows up," she said. Fuhr's girlfriend, Ammie Turos, left the
courtroom in tears with her mother and declined to comment.
Also yesterday, court documents verified that Crow
had been strangled and was last seen alive with Fuhr in the area where
her body was found Thanksgiving Day behind a business at 2270 S. High St.
Sowers was found dead Nov. 18 at a construction site
off Groveport Road. She had a broken neck.
Detectives yesterday said physical evidence will link
Fuhr to Sowers' death, but they did not elaborate.
Rodgers was found strangled Nov. 7 in a field off
Groveport Road, not far from where Sowers' body was discovered 11 days
Yesterday, detectives searched Fuhr's rented mobile
home in the Old Trailer Court, 3737 E. Main St., Whitehall, and removed
eight bags of evidence.
"There's not much in there,'' homicide detective
Michael McCann said.
Police were awaiting lab results on blood and hair
samples taken last week from Fuhr. The tests will provide DNA samples
for trial, McCann said.
Police think they also have evidence in a pickup
truck Fuhr borrowed from his employer the day before Thanksgiving.
The truck was found abandoned with a flat tire, and
Crow's body was found nearby next, to a trash bin.
Christian Stephen Fuhr