A Lancaster woman charged with murdering a construction worker she accused of giving drugs to her daughter testified in her own defense Thursday in Lancaster Superior Court, saying she did not intend to kill the man but shot him after he made a threatening move toward her.
Belita Fox, 41, disputed the testimony of the dead man's roommate, who said Wednesday that he saw Fox fire three shots into Kevin Furman, 23, as Furman lay in bed, propped on his elbow.
Fox said she went to Furman's house just after midnight Aug. 30 to warn him against allowing her 17-year-old daughter to use drugs there. Fox, who said she drank at least 10 beers and "two or three shots" of liquor before the confrontation, testified that she argued with Furman as he lay in bed, then pointed her .38-caliber revolver at him in an angry attempt to make him listen.
Furman rose and moved toward her, reaching a kneeling position on the bed about three feet away when she fired, Fox said.
After the first shot, "we looked at each other," said Fox, a small, pale blonde who sobbed and spoke in a near-whisper. "Our eyes met. We looked at his side. There was just a little trickle of blood."
Fox said she fired because she feared Furman and his roommates were going to "hurt me." Extending her arms to mimic a two-handed firing stance, Fox said she thought she saw movement at her side, which startled her into pulling the trigger two more times.
"They all thought I was crazy. I figured they were either going to call the sheriffs or hurt me."
But during an hour of intense cross-examination, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Foltz pointed out apparent inconsistencies in Fox's account and contradictions of other evidence.
Foltz referred to a medical examiner's testimony that Furman was shot four times, three times in the front torso and once in the back. He said all the shots were fired from above, indicating Furman was lying down, not upright on his knees, and was trying to roll away from Fox when he was hit in the back.
"Can you explain how he got shot in the back?" Foltz demanded. He said that if Furman had been kneeling in bed when he was hit, the shots would have had to have been fired by someone on the floor below him to explain the angle of the bullets' entry.
Fox said she could not explain the discrepancies. She said she sat in a chair crying as Furman died. She said she fired a fourth shot into the prone Furman and emptied the gun with two more shots into the bed because she feared sheriff's deputies were outside and they would kill her if she had a loaded gun.
Fox's lawyer, Vincent Oliver, argued that Fox went to Furman's house, which Oliver described as a "drug house," in a desperate and justified attempt to stop Furman from giving drugs to her daughter, Cheryl.
Fox said she believed Cheryl, who had run away from home and spent the previous three days sick in bed, was in danger because she had a heart murmur that made her especially vulnerable to the effects of drugs.
Furman's roommate, Ronald McCreary, testified Thursday that he saw Cheryl use marijuana and methamphetamine several times at the house. But McCreary said he never saw Furman give drugs to Cheryl and said Furman did not permit minors to use drugs in the house.
Although McCreary admitted that Furman sold him methamphetamine twice, he said he never saw Furman sell drugs to anyone else and said drug use at Furman's house was limited to occasional weekends.
Under cross-examination, Fox admitted that she had not taken Cheryl to a specialist to check her heart murmur since 1980. After Fox said she knew of several other men who gave Cheryl drugs, including Cheryl's stepfather, Foltz asked whether her true motive was that she hated Furman's girlfriend and also wanted to punish Cheryl for going to Furman's house.
"I didn't want to kill him," Fox said.