Details revealed in Lawton double homicide

Prosecutors have charged Thorsten Rushing, 18, in the Jan. 20 deaths of his father and younger brother. A motive hasn’t been made public, but a subpoena in the case hints to a life insurance policy.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: April 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: April 7, 2014

In the hours after his dad and brother were killed, Thorsten Rushing described to police a good father who didn’t scream, yell or physically punish him.

Because he was a therapist, Uwe Rushing tended to talk logically with his sons. And he didn’t even speak unkindly of the boys’ mother, who had been absent from their lives for nine years because of a drug problem.

Thorsten Rushing is now charged with murder and conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 20 deaths of his father and younger brother, Stefan, 14. Police allege in court documents that Thorsten Rushing shot them both suffocating suffocated his brother when he “didn’t bleed out fast enough.”

What hasn’t yet been revealed is a motive, but a subpoena filed in the case offers a hint. Comanche County Assistant District Attorney Mark Stoneman on Feb. 5 asked for records relating to Uwe Rushing’s employment at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, specifically “all documents related to survivor benefits.” Thorsten Rushing recently had turned 18.

Stoneman also subpoenaed records from Lawton Public Schools on the Rushings and co-defendants in the case. When contacted by phone last week, Stoneman declined to comment because the cases are pending.

Autopsy reports reveal Stefan Rushing was shot three times, in the head and face, and the medical examiner also found blood aspiration in his windpipe and bronchi, the passageway to the lungs. Uwe Rushing, 50, died of gunshots to the chest and head, according to an autopsy report.

The two were wearing white undershirts and underwear at the time of their deaths, and Uwe Rushing had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14, records show.

Preliminary hearings for Thorsten Rushing and four co-defendants — Ethan Thompson, 19, Wesley Bankston, 18, Cody Davis, 19, and Timothy Delahoy, 18 — are coming up in Lawton. Rushing, Thompson, Davis and Delahoy are scheduled for Wednesday. Bankston’s hearing is scheduled for April 15.

All the young men are charged with two counts of conspiracy. Additionally, Thompson and Bankston face two counts of first-degree murder, and Davis and Delahoy face two counts of being an accessory after the fact.

Stephen Jones, an attorney representing Thorsten Rushing, said his office is reviewing 4,000 pages of discovery provided by law enforcement and preparing for the preliminary hearing.

“He’ll enter a plea of not guilty,” said Jones, who was the lead attorney for Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing trial.

Thompson, Davis and Delahoy confessed to their involvement, authorities said. Police said they believe Thorsten Rushing was the lone shooter.

Police said Thompson hid in a closet for hours until the shooting was carried out, and Bankston drove Thompson and the gun police said Rushing used from the scene afterward, resulting in their first-degree murder charges.

Wholesome and protective

Search warrants filed in Comanche County District Court on March 20 add details to what is known about the days and hours before the killings.

Uwe Rushing seemed to be a wholesome and protective dad to his two sons. Born in Nuremberg, Germany, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cameron University in Lawton and was working as a youth counselor in SWOSU’s adventure program at the time of his death, according to an obituary.

He was active outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, rock climbing, rappelling and coaching his son’s soccer team. On the day of the killings, he had taken Stefan Rushing fishing.

Police seized guns from a safe in the master bedroom, including nine pistols, 12 rifles and five 12-gauge shotguns, plus several boxes of ammunition and two wallets each containing more than $1,000 cash.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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