Judge won’t separate trial

YOUNGSTOWN – Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum ruled against a motion Friday by the mother of a slain teen to have a separate trial.

Krichbaum ruled against the motion filed by lawyers for Shain Widdersheim, 32, of Creed Street in Struthers, who faces several charges for the January death of her son Teddy Foltz, 14.

Widdersheim’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush, 43, also of Creed Street, is also charged in Foltz’s death. Bush faces charges of murder, child endangering, tampering with evidence and felonious assault.

Widdersheim is accused of allowing the abuse to happen and lying to police when they began investigating once Foltz was hospitalized.

Earlier this month her attorney, Douglas King, asked for Widdersheim’s trial to be separated from Bush’s, saying his client faces several different counts than Bush and that if Bush takes the stand in his own defense he may incriminate Widdersheim. Additionally, the nature of the charges are so “heinous” that they may prejudice the jury against his client, King argued.

Krichbaum wrote that King failed to offer any argument that jurors would be so repelled by Bush that they would hold his actions against Widdersheim. Krichbaum also wrote that witnesses for each defendant are expected to be the same and a separate trial would force them to testify twice ”about the exact same things.”

A trial date of June 24 has been set for both.

The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office ruled Foltz’s death a homicide as a result of head trauma. Police were alerted that something was wrong when a relative called them while he was being treated for his injuries.

Prosecutors allege that Bush treated Foltz and his twin 10-year-old brothers like recruits at a boot camp, forced them to do chores and forbade them having any outside contact. They say when school officials noticed signs of abuse, Widdersheim took the boys out of the school district.

The twins are in the custody of the county Children Services Board.