First day of Fullhart Trial
Fri, 07/19/2019 - 9:33am admin
CRESCO - Although appearing stoic during her testimony at the murder trial of her friend, Zoanne Fullhart, Margaret Block took an emotional pause when shown a crime scene photo of Fullhart’s body and asked where Block was standing at the time of the shooting. It took place late on Feb. 28 to early March 1, 2018.
The trial of State v. Brian Allen Fullhart, husband of Zoanne, is taking place at Howard County Courthouse. Jury selection started on Wednesday, July 17 and went into Thursday. Opening remarks from the prosecution and defense began at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Scott Brown, assistant attorney general of Iowa, with Howard County Attorney Kevin Schoeberl by his side, led Block in describing the days before the murder. She and the father of her two children, Torrie Willie, allowed the Fullharts to stay at their trailer at 700 S. Elm St., Cresco. During that time, the 14-person (including two alternates) jury learned the couple fought off-and-on all week. She heard him accusing Zoanne “Zoe” of cheating. “I never heard him threaten her.”
On Feb. 28, 2018, the two couples drove around looking for truck parts. They later stopped at the bar in Kendallville. After returning to Cresco, Block and Willie picked up their children from her mother’s trailer, next door. They all settled in for the evening.
Block was unsure of the time, but all four individuals were in the “smoking room,” which was located on the other end of the trailer from the children. “We were talking. Brian had a gun. I put my cigarette out. I heard the gunshot. Zoe was going down on the floor. The gun was in Brian’s hand. Brian said, ‘What? What?’”
Block did not remember how she and Willie got the gun, but they ended up taking it and the children out to their van and drove around. They ended up at a friend’s home, Gilbert Lopez. They returned to Block’s mother’s trailer and called law enforcement.
Willie’s testimony followed Block’s for the most part except he recalled taking the gun from Fullhart and backing out of the room, while holding the gun on his friend.
Earlier in the week the two couples had gone target shooting with the 9-mm pistol.
Also testifying was Zoanne’s mother, Jo Olson, owner of Ruby’s Restaurant in Decorah. Brown asked if she recalled that day. “I sure as hell do!” she exclaimed. She said she had received a call from Brian around 9-9:30 a.m. on March 1. Thirty minutes later, she was contacted by law enforcement that her daughter had been murdered.
The last witness of the day was Summer Luster, the mother of Brent Fullhart’s (Brian’s brother) baby.
The weekend before the murder, Feb. 22-24, Brian and Zoe stayed with Brent and Luster at his house in Cresco.
Luster recalled on Saturday, “Zoe took off her wedding ring and set it in front of her. Brian asked, ‘What does that mean.’ Zoe said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Luster stated and repeated Brian’s reply, “If you want a divorce, you’re ****ing dead.”
In cross examination, public defender Matthew Hoffey asked, “After that, did they share a bed?” To which the answer was yes.
Luster was asked about Brian’s mental state. She has some experience with mental illness as she explained her mother was bipolar and schizophrenic. She felt Brian’s behavior was getting worse.
According to opening statements, Brown told jurors after law enforcement was called, the gun was taken into evidence and secured. “It was a very dangerous situation for law enforcement.”
The 911 call came in around 1:20 a.m. and, Fullhart was taken into custody about 6:40 a.m. The defense contends that during that time, he never left the residence. He shot an arrow at law enforcement after he asked them to shut off the lights. He shot another arrow when they would not bring him beer.
The prosecution is asking the jury to come back with a guilty of murder in the first degree verdict.
The defense is looking at involuntary manslaughter. Hoffey will present a forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Brian several months after the shooting who said he was still showing signs of psychosis.
Friday witnesses include law enforcement officers, as well as others. The prosecution will likely continue with its evidence into Monday, July 22. Tuesday is scheduled as no court, with Wednesday, July 24, being the defense’s turn to give evidence to jurors.