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Teddy's killer gets max; judge says no punishment enough

Published: Sat, June 29, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.

RELATED: CSB worker: Teddy's brothers tried to save him




Teddy Foltz tried to run the day he received the beating that killed him, but he couldn’t run far enough.

  Sentencing of Zaryl Bush

The man who was sentenced Friday for torturing and killing him also couldn’t run, as Zaryl Bush, 42, of Creed Street, Struthers, was sentenced to 33 years to life for killing the 14-year-old, abusing his twin brothers, now 11, and forcing them to lie for him about their brother’s death.

Police and Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court recounted how Teddy had run from Bush and the home he was beaten in on Jan. 21, the day he received the beating from which he died five days later. Detective Jeffrey Lewis, who investigated the case, said Teddy was thrown outside into freezing weather after an earlier beating and ran away.

Bush enlisted the child’s mother, Shain Widdersheim, to track him down, and when they found him, the results were not good, Judge Krichbaum said.

“You told him, ‘Tonight, you’re mine,’” said Judge Krichbaum, who while speaking in a calm voice appeared to be enraged and at times was biting down on his lip. “I can’t imagine the fear that little boy had to feel.”

Bush received a sentence of 15 years to life for murder and maximum sentences of three years each for two counts of child endangering, two counts of intimidation of a witness and one count of tampering with evidence. He pleaded guilty last week in a deal that spares the twins from testifying. Judge Krichbaum went over the recommended sentence of 22 years to life that was called for in the plea deal.

“What you did to him was not only evil, unconscionable — it was demonic,” Judge Krichbaum said. “I can’t imagine a human being treating another human being the way you treated this kid.”

Bush is accused of administering the beating while at least one of the twins watched and was forced to clean up; and trying to fake a crime scene at Widdersheim’s home. Police say he constantly had been abusing the three boys for more than a year. Widdersheim is to be sentenced in August for allowing the abuse to happen.

Teddy died Jan. 26 at St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he was taken after his mother first took him to St. Elizabeth Boardman Campus after he was beaten. During the beating that led to his death, Widdersheim ran some errands and played the lottery, Lewis said after court.

“We have the lottery tickets,” Lewis said.

Police say the boys were beaten and verbally abused constantly, forced to walk on hot coals, and Teddy was made to stand outside in freezing weather. He had frostbite on his feet when he died.

When it was his turn to speak, Bush, in a high-pitched, soft voice, said he was sorry.

“I take responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I’m sorry it happened.”

His attorney, Ron Yarwood, said he did not know what to say, but he asked that Judge Krichbaum honor the sentence in the plea agreement, saying that a message must be sent to people that when they plead guilty and take responsibility for their actions, they should receive at least a measure of mercy.

Judge Krichbaum postponed sentencing last week because he wanted a chance to review the evidence before imposing sentence. He said that may not have been a good decision.

“I’m sorry I asked,” he said. “I don’t know if I ever felt this way before. I’m overwhelmed at what occurred here.”

Judge Krichbaum said he agreed with the rationale of allowing the plea and not having a trial, which would force the twins to testify. But he also wondered if they could have used that as a measure for revenge.

“But in a way, it also gives them a chance to kick him back, or kick him in the head or burn his feet on coals or give him frostbite,” he said.

Statements at Friday’s hearing said that Bush punched Teddy in the face and knocked him down, then kicked him and slammed his head into a wall so hard it left an indentation from which crime-scene personnel could take blood samples.

“What you deserve is the same ridicule and abuse and scorn you inflicted on that little boy,” Judge Krichbaum said. “I don’t think there’s a hole dark enough and deep enough to put you in.”

It will be up to the state parole board to decide if Bush is ever released from prison on the murder charge, but Judge Krichbaum said he believes the crimes were so severe the board will never allow Bush to be released.


1papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years ago

I think if judge krichbaum could have gotten away with it he would have had a public hanging. I hope they kill this low-life scumbag in prison. better yet, let's have the other miscreant who punched that little boy in the stomach and killed him fight bush to the death, and then we'll hang the winner. people like them don't deserve to breathe.

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2JorgeeBoi(6 comments)posted 3 years ago

Ron Yarwood stated "that a message must be sent to people that when they plead guilty and take responsibility for their actions, they should receive at least a measure of mercy."The message should be sent and they must be judged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their guilty plea.No leniency for someone who knows right from wrong.

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3steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years ago

Shame on the so called adults and those who knew this poor child was being beaten,abused and torchered.
The police,the CSB workers and teachers who saw the condition this boy was in.

Keep in mind Teddy was removed from public school because questions were being asked about his condition.
That's proof enough his abuse was known by school officials.

It's tough to hear the lame excuse from the CSB worker telling us they went to Teddy's home to investigate but Bush wouldn't answer the door or allow them in.

We all know things go on behind the scenes that the public generally never hears about.
We can hope that judges know prison wardens and arrangments can be quietly made for trash like Bush to recieve some extra attention behind bars or in isolated corners of the prison.

If there's any justice for Teddy and I pray that there is Bush will hear for many years "Tonight you're mine" from big ugly Bubba and friends.

This worthless coward only admitted his guilt to keep the death penatly off the table.
He's not sorry for what he did to Teddy and he's not capable of remorse.
He doesn't deserve mercy in any measure.

He deserves exactly the same mercy he gave Teddy and his brothers.

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4nojimbo(286 comments)posted 3 years ago

This DEMANDS follow up reporting from the Vindicator.

"Dave Arnold, interim executive director of CSB, said he could not comment on what contacts may have been made."

Why not??? Who the hell is investigating CSB, the Struthers police and the Struthers schools and any other publically funded institution(s) who may have contributed to the boy's death.

This kid DESERVES to have his life mean something. And if this episode contributes to real reform so other kids get help then that will bring some measure of comfort to this horrible event.

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5Samendolea(1 comment)posted 3 years ago

I think people should think before they speak. It is horrible what happened to Teddy. I think before you point the finger at other people and blame them ( struthers police and csb ) you should just pray for the brothers of teddy and how they are safe right now. And keep praying that all this abuse stops!! It takes a community to help out. Teddy's own family couldn't even help them, so again put your finger down and be greatful that zaryl got his punishment that he deserved!! Pray for the family that lost teddy!! Pray for his brothers and the family that stepped up and are taking care of them!!

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6kathyg(6 comments)posted 3 years ago

We can only hope Widdersheim gets a like sentence for her horrendous complicity in Teddy"s murder.At least he did not have to witness his mother watching him while he took a beating no person should have to endure ,except for the likes of Bush and Widdersheim NO mercy should be given to those two misfits.What contemptable losers ....They truly are animals...

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7papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years ago

i'm so sick and tired of reading stories like this and others and listening to them on the local news. sometimes it seems like there are more criminals out there than good people althought I know this is not true.. I wonder, how can one human being treat another like this. what's in there head? I have no pity for them and I won't pray for them. i'm sorry but this is how I feel. take them all, the evil ones who prey on innocent people. and execute every damn one of them and let God sort them out. I will continue to pray for all good people, those in need and suffering, animals, but not these evil bastards. I hope they burn.

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8kurtw(1823 comments)posted 3 years ago

What this case shows above all is the need for people in a neighborhood to watch out for each other- and if you see anything that might be suspicious, out of the ordinary, or criminal in nature- call the Police. I live in Austintown and I have the Police non-emergency number in my cell phone. If I see anything I feel they might need to know- I call.

It's possible, in this case, that if neighbors had been a little more vigilant and concerned- the boys life might have been saved. Of course, it goes without saying, the primary culprit (other than the animal that committed the crimes) is the mother and other adult family members that allowed it to happen. It said in the news story she was out buying lottery tickets while her vermin-lover tortured her son to death. Her guilt, if possible, is greater than his and her punishment should be greater than his.

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9SamCoon93(13 comments)posted 3 years ago

I am a member of the family. And we called countless times and got ignored. I personally called three times after my Grandpa's funeral in April of 2012, when the boys and Shain arrived for an extremely short period of time. Shain wondered away for about five minutes and Teddy started tearing up and began to tell me what was happening. When I called to voice my concerns, along with the rest of my family, we were told that they were not getting into a family fight. ALSO! QUIT downgrading my family because it is complete nonsense. We stepped up to take the twins after, we wanted them to come home with the family THAT WAS HERE SINCE BIRTH! And we will ALWAYS be here for them. Just because CSB placed them with a family THAT WALKED OUT on them and that DEMANDED a DNA test before taking them does not mean my family doesn't want them, and we will fight to have them come home WITH THEIR REAL FAMILY! CSB is just trying to cover their own behinds because they chose to ignore calls from the school and the family and failed my baby cousin and allowed him to die. The whole place should be canned and forced to work at a job where they can't hurt people like McDonald's, actually, they would probably fail the cheeseburgers too. As for Zaryl, there is a special place in hell for him. And Shain, she is no mother or woman and will burn next to him. Good day to you all.

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10nojimbo(286 comments)posted 3 years ago

To SamCoon93,
Please call 330-740-2130 for the time and date of the next Mahoning County Commissioners meeting. There's one scheduled at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Courthouse but call first. Then GO to the Commissioners meeting but first call WKBN at 330-782-1144 and WFMJ at 330-744-8821 on Tuesday and tell them you will be speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting. That's the ONLY way to try to get answers for what happened in the CSB investigation.

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11Mia213(10 comments)posted 3 years ago

Zaryl Bush and Teddy's mother have no remorse. You can not abuse and torture a child unless you are evil and without human emotion. Zaryl should be on death row and his mother in prison for life. The judge is obligaed to follow the law and was very distraught over this crime. Laws dealing with child abusers need to be free of loop holes. Child busers sent tp prison should be placed in the general prison population, let the other prisoners have a whack at them. God will deal with these monsters someday and His punishment will be more than adequate.

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