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Second man charged in deadly shooting

Nov. 13, 2012 @ 11:25 PM

HUNTINGTON -- City police arrested a second man Tuesday in what one investigator testified was an ill-fated mission by two local residents to get heroin.

The quest ended in a double homicide, with Darrell Fugua, 22, and DeVante Penn, 17, dead. Both were from Detroit.

They were shot about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 6, at 1939 Foster Ave., a residence described in court documents and testimony as a drug house that contained a significant amount of heroin.

Rocky Hudson Williams, 19, and Thomas Maurice White, 21, each face two counts of murder during the commission of a felony. Both are detained without bond.

White, still dressed in a hospital gown after being hospitalized several days for a wound he received in the incident, stood next to his wheelchair at Tuesday's arraignment in Cabell County Magistrate Court.

At the same time, Williams sat in a nearby courtroom during his preliminary examination. An investigator's testimony was enough evidence to forward Williams' case to a grand jury.

Huntington Police Detective Chris Sperry recounted Williams' statement to police, testifying Williams and White went to Foster Avenue to get heroin. Court documents describe that mission as robbery.

Sperry testified White went upstairs upon entering the residence, while Williams kept hold of a handgun and sat on a downstairs couch. Gunfire then erupted from upstairs. White soon returned with blood dripping from his pants.

"Mr. Williams states he jumps up, turns around and -- pow, pow, pow, pow -- shoots on the way out the door," Sperry testified.

The first police units arrived soon thereafter to find Fugua dead in an upstairs hallway with gunshot wounds to the buttocks and back of his head, Sperry testified.

Officers found Penn critically injured on a downstairs couch. They aggressively worked to clot Penn's blood loss as the teenager used his last breaths of consciousness to pinpoint Williams as his shooter, making specific note of a large mole on the suspect's left cheek, Sperry said.

Two paramedics started CPR moments later as a police officer drove their ambulance to St. Mary's Medical Center. Penn lived on a ventilator until this past weekend, but never regained consciousness before he was pronounced dead Saturday, Sperry testified.

The detective testified Penn's autopsy indicates he died from significant blood loss from a gunshot wound to his left leg.

Williams' public defender, Jason Goad, argued his client's involvement was nothing more than self-defense. He insisted Williams fired upon hearing the initial gunshots and seeing White's bloodstained leg.

Goad also took exception with Sperry's styling of the case, which charges Williams with murder during the commission of a robbery. The defense attorney repeatedly asked for evidence of robbery.

Sperry's answers relied upon Williams' use of the word "get" in telling police their mission was "to get the dope." He also mentioned the suspects' limited amount of money after the incident. He testified Williams possessed the most money, $73.

"You're assuming that meant robbery, even though he didn't say they were going to rob the place," Goad asked.

"He didn't say they were going to purchase it either, sir," Sperry answered.

Williams' mother, Debra, defended her son before Tuesday's hearing. She acknowledged her son's prior criminal record, saying he had served probation as a juvenile and was free on bond at the time of Tuesday's arrest. She said the former vocational student simply got with the wrong crowd, but would never commit murder.

"My son is a good person," she said. "There had to be more to it."

White, just arrested Tuesday after his release from a hospital, will have his chance at a preliminary hearing later this month. Sperry testified White's gunshot wound might have been self-inflicted as doctors believe the direction of his wound was straight down as if the weapon fired while in a waistband.

Also charged in the case was the home's tenant, Charity Dawn Cornell. Sperry testified officers initially charged her with misdemeanor maintaining a drug house as they were unable to determine who owned what drugs.