LIMA — One of two men charged with murder in the January 2019 shooting death of Lima resident Branson Tucker on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a lone count of having a weapon under disability.
Jerome Fuqua faces a maximum of three years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 1. He has already served 21 months in the Allen County jail following his arrest.
Fuqua, 61, and fellow Lima resident Kenneth Cobb, 60, were taken into custody on Jan. 16, 2019, one day after Tucker was found dead inside a vehicle that had been involved in an early-morning traffic accident in the 600 block of Michael Avenue. Tucker was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso and died later that morning at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
Both men were indicted by a grand jury on charges of murder, felonious assault with a firearm specification and having a weapon under disability in connection with Tucker’s death.
Cobb took his case to trial, where jurors heard his attorney advance a self-defense claim by arguing Cobb was protecting himself from physical harm when he shot Tucker in the leg during a gambling argument at an after-hours establishment at 975 St. Johns Ave., Lima.
Cobb was convicted by the jury of felonious assault but was acquitted on the murder charge. Jurors found Cobb acted in self-defense and was not culpable in Tucker’s death. Last month he was sentenced to eight years behind bars on the felonious assault charge, three years for the attached gun specification and three more years for having a weapon under disability.
In a taped interview with police that was played for jurors during his trial, Cobb admitted he had fired the shots from a handgun that killed Tucker. Fuqua earlier had admitted to police he provided the weapon used in the shooting.
Following his acceptance of a negotiated deal with prosecutors on Wednesday Fuqua’s attorney, Steve Chamberlain, asked that his client’s bond be significantly lowered. Judge Terri Kohlrieser agreed and released Fuqua on a own-recognizance bond and place him on house arrest until time of sentencing.