LAWTON — Thorsten Rushing calmly walked to the bathroom, slid on a pair of latex gloves and then spent the next “10 to 15 minutes” suffocating his little brother, Stefan Rushing, who’d already been shot in the head multiple times as he slept.
Those details were shared at a preliminary court hearing Wednesday by a co-defendant in the case against Thorsten Rushing, 18, who is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his brother and father.
While Thorsten Rushing attempted to suffocate his brother, their father — Uwe Rushing — was more than likely already dead, testified Ethan Thompson, who hid in a closet at the Rushing home the night Stefan, 14, and Uwe Rushing, 50, were killed. The father had been shot twice — once in the head and once in the back — with his own gun.
Thompson, 19, and three other young men who authorities said were involved in the slayings testified Wednesday during Rushing’s preliminary hearing. After several hours of their testimony, Comanche County District Judge Kenny Harris ruled Rushing should face trial on the murder charges.
Witnesses suggested the motive in the killings appears to be money — specifically Uwe Rushing’s life insurance policy.
Each of the witnesses Wednesday mentioned the term insurance and said that in exchange for helping kill his father and brother, Thorsten Rushing offered gifts of money, vehicles and housing.
Prosecutors have not disclosed the value of Uwe Rushing’s life insurance policy.
Thorsten Rushing also told friends that he was “terrified” of his father, who apparently became abusive when he drank, several witnesses testified.
All of the witnesses who appeared Wednesday said they had been offered deals by prosecutors in exchange for their testimony. Thompson said he’d been offered life in prison with the possibility of parole. The other young men indicated they had been offered 35 years behind bars to testify.
Hearings for the other men will come later, said Mark Stoneman, an assistant district attorney for Comanche County.
Stoneman said his office has not decided whether to seek the death penalty for Thorsten Rushing, who is due back in court within 30 days.
Thompson said Stefan Rushing proved hard to kill. It was because of this, he said, that Thorsten Rushing decided to suffocate him. Thompson said the younger brother already had been shot in the head twice when Thompson emerged from the closet. He said Stefan Rushing “wouldn’t stop moving,” so his older brother got a pillow, held it over his brother’s face and fired another 9 mm slug into the boy’s head.
“He kinda jolted and just continued rubbing his face with a bloody hand,” Thompson said during his testimony on Wednesday.
Thorsten Rushing eventually resorted to suffocating his little brother, Thompson said, by covering his nose and mouth.
Uwe Rushing — whose blood alcohol level was at 0.14 at the time of his death, an autopsy report shows — was on a mattress in the family’s living room. He was wearing underwear and a white shirt.
“I could see the holes in him,” Thompson said. “He was gone. ... You could tell.”
Thompson, who authorities say helped Rushing get rid of evidence after the shootings, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Wesley Bankston, 18, who authorities say was the getaway driver, faces the same charges as Thompson.
Cody Davis, 19, and Timothy Delahoy, 18, are each charged with two counts of being an accessory to murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Both men testified Wednesday that they wanted no part of the killings after a failed attempt roughly three days before the slayings.
All of the men knew each other from their time at Lawton High School.
During testimony on Wednesday, Thorsten Rushing rarely looked at the witnesses as they testified against him. He wore an orange jumpsuit, glasses and his hair was slicked back. Occasionally, he would make notes and show them to his lawyers. He didn’t appear to show any emotion, even as Thompson described details of the killings.