Bush appeals sentence in Foltz killing

By joe gorman



The man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s son and abusing the boy’s twin brothers has appealed his conviction and 33-years-to-life sentence to the 7th District Court of Appeals.

In paperwork filed Friday, Zaryl Bush, 42, of Creed Street, Struthers, appealed his conviction and sentencing, saying that the plea “was not entered knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily” and that Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court abused his discretion by imposing consecutive multiple sentences and also by eschewing a recommended sentence of 22 years to life.

Judge Krichbaum sentenced Bush on June 28 after Bush pleaded guilty earlier in June to charges of murder, three counts of child endangering and tampering with evidence.

Teddy Foltz, 14, died in January, five days after a beating he received from Bush in front of one of his brothers. Both brothers were enlisted to help Bush try to cover up the crime.

Some observers termed the case one of the worst child-abuse cases they had seen. Police said that for more than a year Bush ran the home of his ex-girlfriend Shain Widdersheim, 31, like a boot camp, and beat the boys regularly as well as forced them to do work.

On the day Teddy received the beating from which he died, testimony at Bush’s sentencing showed that Bush threw Teddy outside in bitter-cold weather as punishment and then enlisted his mother to help track Teddy down because he ran away. Bush then, after the mother left to run errands, punched Teddy, kicked him and slammed his head into a wall before beating him.

At Bush’s plea hearing, prosecutors and defense attorneys worked out the deal, which was designed to help keep the twins from testifying. Before Judge Krichbaum approved it, he asked Bush a series of routine questions that all who enter guilty pleas are asked. Bush was asked if he understood the plea; if his lawyers explained it to him; if his lawyers explained that while they can recommend a sentence, a judge is not bound by that sentence and has the discretion to give a greater or lesser sentence; and if he entered into the plea freely and voluntarily.

Bush answered “yes” to all those questions. He also said in that hearing, when asked, that he was satisfied with his legal representation. When asked if he was promised anything or threatened in exchange for his plea, he answered “no.”

Judges do have the discretion to go above or below a recommended sentence.

The case has not yet been assigned a hearing date.

Ralph Rivera, an assistant county prosectuor who handles pleas for his office, said the appeals court has to hear Bush’s case because he has the right to appeal. He said the court may opt to decide the case on briefs only if neither of the parties requests an oral argument.

Widdersheim pleaded guilty to charges she allowed the abuse to happen and is awaiting sentencing in August. A 10-year sentence is recommended in that case.

The twins are now in foster care and Children Services workers say they are recovering but still haunted by the memory of their older brother.

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