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Lawton man ordered to face trial in killing of father, brother

Witnesses say father’s insurance policy may have been a motive in the slayings of Lawton man and his son in January.
by Andrew Knittle Published: April 9, 2014

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.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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