A Florida man charged in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend — after claiming that she shot herself by accident — has been convicted of her murder.
The office of Florida State Attorney Melissa W. Nelson announced on Thursday that Chad Absher was found guilty by a jury of the first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Christina "Ashlee" Rucker and the attempted first-degree murder of her sister Lisa Rucker on Halloween in 2017. He also pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Absher took the stand in his own defense on Thursday, telling jurors that he was actually attacked in his sleep by Lyle Scheideman — Lisa Rucker's boyfriend — on the night of Oct. 31, 2017, according to local NBC affiliate First Coast News. Instead of fighting back, Absher claimed that he had begun to gather his things to leave the apartment, but was stopped by Ashlee who he alleged pointed a rifle at him.
He then told the jury that, when Ashlee pulled the trigger, she was the one who shot her sister Lisa, who was standing behind him in the living room. Absher added that he then "grabbed the gun" because he was "half drunk and on sleep meds," after which a second shot went off, hitting Ashlee in the head as her children watched.
When asked if his hand was ever on the trigger, he said, "No."
Photo: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
However, Ashlee's sister Lisa had taken the stand on Wednesday and testified that it was Absher, not her sister, who shot her in the face —matching statements she'd previously given to officers on the night of the shooting. She also denied ever having been in a sexual or romantic relationship with Absher.
Scheideman had also testified, telling the jury that Lisa came to him for help because Abscher was choking Ashlee. After pulling the defendant off Ashlee, Scheideman said he left the apartment, but returned when he heard two gunshots and saw Absher leaving with the rifle hidden under his jacket.
"I hear the children losing their minds,” Scheideman testified, according to local station News4Jax. “Right when I walk in, I see Ashlee at the front of Lisa’s bedroom, walk over to her and I see her face was blown away. Then I looked to my right and I see Lisa, she’s gurgling up blood. The kids were on the couch screaming, and I was trying to calm them down at the same time.”
A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sergeant who responded to the shooting also testified that both Scheideman and Lisa had told him on the night of the incident that Absher had shot the two women.
A captain with Jacksonville Fire Rescue paramedics also told jurors that Lisa told them, "'I can’t believe he shot me. That f***ing Chad Absher shot me…and he killed my sister.’”
Following the shooting, Absher was found with the rifle used in the crime and arrested by police, according to the press release.
Absher faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison and will be formally sentenced at a future hearing.