From Ferguson’s appeal: In July 1999, Ferguson was convicted of burglary and sentenced to two years in prison. On November 8, 2001, Ferguson, while on postrelease control, was ordered to complete a substance-abuse treatment program at Talbert House in Cincinnati.
On December 20, 2001, Ferguson was granted a two-day pass to visit his mother at her Dayton home. The pass was effective from 9:00 a.m. on December 21 until 12:00 p.m. on December 23, when he was required to return to Talbert House. Ferguson went to his mother’s Dayton home, but he did not return to Talbert House when his pass expired.
Around 4:00 a.m. on December 23, 2001, Ferguson broke into the Dayton apartment of James Nicholson, a double amputee in a wheelchair, and William Ferrell. Once inside the apartment, Ferguson knocked Nicholson to the ground, removed Nicholson’s wallet from his pants pocket, and took cash from the wallet. As he left, Ferguson warned Nicholson and Ferrell that if they called the police, he would return and kill them.
At some time on December 25, 2001, Ferguson went to Thomas King’s home in east Dayton. Ferguson knew the 61-year-old King because Ferguson’s mother had been married to King’s brother. King was disabled and could walk only with crutches.
Ferguson knocked on the door, and King, who was alone, let Ferguson into the house. After Ferguson and King talked for a time, Ferguson attacked King, repeatedly stabbed him with a kitchen knife, and kicked and stomped King with his steel-toed boots. Following the attack, Ferguson took a 13-inch television, a 19-inch television, and a stereo “boom box” and fled.
According to his later confession, Ferguson then went to a Meijer’s store and purchased some gold spray paint to “huff,” i.e., to inhale the paint vapors for a quick high. Ferguson then went to an area underneath a bridge and “tried to put a bread bag over [his] face to go ahead and just do [himself] in because [he] knew what [he] did was wrong.”
On the evening of December 26, Ferguson went to the home of 68-year-old Arlie Fugate and 69-year-old Mae Fugate in east Dayton. Ferguson knew them because Ferguson’s family had once lived near the Fugate home.
Ferguson knocked on the Fugates’ door and asked to use their bathroom. The Fugates let Ferguson inside their house. After Ferguson came out of the bathroom, he took a knife from the kitchen and attacked the Fugates. Ferguson repeatedly stabbed, stomped, and kicked both of them with his boots. Following the attack, Ferguson stole Mae’s wedding ring and other jewelry, Arlie’s wedding band, and loose change that was kept in jars and jugs in the house. Ferguson then left the house.
After leaving the Fugate home, Ferguson walked to Sid’s Towing Service. Around 1:00 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. on December 27, Ferguson approached Jeffrey Fleming Jr., an acquaintance who worked at Sid’s Towing. Ferguson asked Fleming for a ride to another location in Dayton, and Fleming drove him there. Fleming noticed blood on Ferguson’s jeans, but Ferguson told Fleming that the blood was from a fight.
After the murders, Ferguson traded several of the stolen items to Vicki Miller for crack cocaine. Miller identified Ferguson from a photo array as the man who had made the trade. Police recovered this property from Miller’s residence in Dayton, from Miller’s father, and from a Dayton pawn shop. The 13-inch television was never recovered.
Around noon on December 27, Ferguson went to the Dayton home of Ricky Webb, an acquaintance. Webb, Dwayne Abney, and Willie Townsend were at the house when Ferguson arrived. Ferguson said that he wanted to watch the noon headlines on television. The group then watched news coverage of the three murders. Ferguson said that he had killed the victims at both locations. In describing what happened, Ferguson said “that one guy went to pull a weapon on him. * * * He said he let him have it. And * * * that’s what they * * * had coming to them for trying to pull a weapon on him.”
While watching the news, Ferguson asked how to get blood out of clothes. Townsend told him to soak the clothes in cold water. Abney noticed that there were darkish brown stains on the bottom of Ferguson’s jeans and that Ferguson was wearing black, steel-toed boots.
Later on December 27, Ferguson went to the Dayton home of Irma Hess, where he washed his pants to get the blood out. Ferguson remained at the Hess home until he was arrested the next day.
Around 8:00 p.m. on December 26, police were dispatched to the King home after a friend found King’s body. Police noticed that the rear door to the house was ajar, but found no signs of forced entry.
King’s body, found on the dining room floor, had sustained multiple knife wounds and a severe beating to his face. Two kitchen knives were found near King’s body. The wall near King’s body was heavily covered with blood spatter. Police also found a distinctive bloody footprint on King’s pants, and similar bloody footprints were found on the carpet near his body.
The dining room area had been rifled, but the rest of the house showed no signs of being ransacked. Police later determined that a 19-inch television had been stolen from the dining room, a stereo “boom box” from the kitchen, and a 13-inch television from the bedroom.
Around 9:00 a.m. on December 27, James Cornett, the Fugates’ son, discovered Arlie’s and Mae’s bodies on their living room floor. Police arriving at the Fugate home found the front door ajar, but found no signs of forced entry.
The bodies of Arlie and Mae were found next to each other in the living room. Arlie and Mae sustained multiple stab wounds and had been badly beaten. It appeared that the bodies had been arranged in the center of the room, and that **811 Arlie had been dragged by his shoulders to that position, because his pants and underwear were pulled down to his hips. A bloodstained kitchen knife was found near the bodies. Police also found bloodstains near the front door, on living room furniture and carpeting, and on a dining room chair and carpeting. A bloody foot impression was also left on Arlie’s face.
The living room had been ransacked. Arlie’s wallet was next to his feet, and its contents were scattered on the floor. A fanny pack and Mae’s wallet were lying next to Arlie’s head, and her wallet had been rifled through. After talking to Cornett, police learned that Mae’s rings and Arlie’s wedding band had been taken from their hands. Jugs and jars filled with coins were also missing from the home.
As the investigation progressed, Ferguson was identified as the primary suspect. On December 28, the police obtained an arrest warrant for Ferguson for the Nicholson robbery and learned that Ferguson was staying at the Hess home.
At 3:00 p.m. on December 28, Detectives Gary Dunsky, Doyle Burke, and another uniformed police officer went to the Hess home. When the police came to the door, Irma Hess confirmed that Ferguson was inside. The police then entered the house, placed Ferguson under arrest, and took him to the police station.
At the station, Det. Burke advised Ferguson of his Miranda rights, and he waived those rights. Subsequently, Ferguson provided the police with a detailed account of the murders reflecting facts already described. Ferguson also gave a videotaped confession.
Denise K. Rankin, a forensic scientist, conducted DNA testing of bloodstains on Ferguson’s boots. DNA testing of one bloodstain showed “a mixture where Arlie Fugate and Thomas King * * * are possible contributors.” DNA testing of another bloodstain on the boots showed “a mixture where Arlie Fugate is a possible contributor.” According to Rankin, the probability of an individual contributing to the mixed profile of this second stain is one in 62,770,000 Caucasians, one in 43,220,000 African Americans, one in 40,210,000 Southeastern Hispanics, and one in 21,120,000 Southwestern Hispanics. Ferguson is a Caucasian.
Daniel Lee Bibby, an expert in trace analysis, compared sole prints from Ferguson’s boots with bloody impressions found on the victims’ bodies and at the King and Fugate homes. Bibby concluded that the imprint left on Arlie’s face was consistent with Ferguson’s right boot heel. Bibby also found that shoe impressions on two carpet samples from King’s home were consistent with the tread pattern from Ferguson’s right boot. Finally, Bibby found that impressions from “red-brown material” on King’s pants were similar to an element in the tread pattern of Ferguson’s boots.
Dr. Russell Uptegrove, Deputy Coroner for Montgomery County, performed or supervised autopsies of all three victims. Mae suffered numerous stab wounds and blunt-force injuries to the head and face. She died as the result of “multiple stab wounds of the back.” Arlie suffered numerous blunt-force facial injuries that were consistent with being kicked or stomped. Arlie died from “[m]ultiple stab wounds of the chest.” King also suffered numerous blunt-force injuries to the head consistent with being kicked or stomped with steel-toed boots. He suffered six stab wounds in the chest caused by a single-edge knife. King died as the result of multiple sharp and blunt-force injuries.
Before trial, Ferguson wrote letters to the judge and the prosecutor. In a January 3, 2003 letter, Ferguson informed the prosecutor, “I committed all 3 murders[,] burglarys, [and] robberys.” (Sic.) Ferguson also wrote, “I wish to get this over with as soon as possible. * * * I Darrell Wayne Ferguson wishes to seek the Death penalty.” (Sic.)
In a January 7, 2003 letter, Ferguson wrote the trial judge that when he went to King’s home, he “hit [King] and beat hime to death and then stabbed hime. [He] took the t.v. and sold them.” (Sic.) As to the Fugate murders, Ferguson stated, “[I] club[b]ed [Mae] in the forehead with a metal and wooden candle stick holder. I beat her down untill she could not move. I beat arlie to death as well and then stabbed both of them.” (Sic.) Ferguson wrote, “[W]hat is done is done and if i could bring them back i wouldn’t. I have no Remorse for what i did.” (Sic.) He also wrote, “[I] * * * is asking you in my right state of mind would you please Find it in good will to give me the Death penalty.” (Sic.)
Thomas King , 61 [12/25/2001]
Arlie Fugate, 68 [12/26/2001]
Mae Fugate, 69 [12/26/2001]
State of Ohio Parole Board: Clemency (DENIED)
Darrell Wayne Ferguson #1038
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Final Words: “Mom, Dad, I love you both. I love you a lot. I wish you all the best.”