Longview man on trial for 2021 murder of woman
LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A trial is underway for a murder that happened in January 2021 in Gregg County.
Joshua Ross McCuller, 40, of Longview, is on trial in Judge Alfonso Charles’ courtroom for the murder of social worker Lori Follis.
According to her obituary, Follis had a degree in social work from Lamar University and had received her state license.
It is alleged that McCuller struck Follis several times in the head with a hammer on Jan. 3, 2021, and she died later that day. McCuller was arrested on Jan. 4, charged with aggravated assault of a date/family member/household member with a weapon. His bond was set at $200,000 surety with conditions. Later that same day, the 124th district court charged McCuller with murder, and he was held without bond, according to Gregg County judicial records.
On day two of the trial, violent crimes Detective Dustin Ashworth took the witness stand. He said McCuller admitted to hitting the victim with a hammer. McCuller allegedly said the scratches on his arm were from the victim, Lori Follis. Ashworth said he told McCuller that the victim was found dead from a car accident after she fled his apartment.
Detective Ashworth said McCuller told him where his journal was, and the detective looked at it. He said that in it, McCuller had written out his intentions for others and the victim. McCuller’s name is on the journal and in the journal many times, so it was clearly his property. Graphic words, statements and images were in the journal, and Lori’s name appeared multiple times in the journal, along with images.
Ashworth said McCuller told him that he had planned to crush up sleeping pills and put them in spaghetti sauce for Lori to eat.
Next, the defense began its cross-examination of Det. Ashworth.
McCuller was taken to police department by ambulance because he couldn’t fit inside the patrol vehicle, Ashworth said. McCuller admitted he and Lori had gone to Lone Star and he assaulted someone there. He said Lori was making him mad because she wanted him to do things like take the trash out.
In his journal that was represented when he notes that he assaulted a person, but detectives did not follow up on it. He also said he was going to fix up a cup with sleeping pills for Laurie to take. McCuller and Follis had been living together.
The detective did a walk through of the apartment with another detective, collecting evidence. McCuller had a closet known as the slaughter room, Ashworth said. There were red stains in the apartment, and there were red stains on McCuller, as well.
McCuller’s cellphone was collected as evidence.
The slaughter room is discussed. Ashworth said it is behind two doors, a closet in the bathroom.
Investigator Taylor Bode with the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office and former detective with Longview Police Department comes to the stand:
On January 3, 2021 he went to a car crash scene in Harrison County, and took pictures of the scene. This is the scene where Lori Follis’ was found dead. He said he did his investigation around DPS.
He went to the Churchill Apartment, then he was told to go to the Longview PD to gather DNA evidence from McCuller. Speckles of blood were found and taken from McCuller.
A search warrant served at his apartment complex, and they did a couple of walk-throughs of the apartment
They collect evidence based off the search warrant, and collected the journals.
Did a walk through of the apartment complex where the victim’s car was once parked and saw a trail of blood spots. Video is shown in court of the crime scene in the apartment and apartment complex with the trail of blood where they think the victim’s car was parked and where the trail of blood ended.
Blood drops were also located on stairs leading to the apartment. Blood stains on the carpet and video of hammer is shown. Detective said he took 1000 photos over multiple crime scenes.
Next, pictures of the car crash on Old 2879 Harrison County are shown. Follis’ car was hit on the roadway there. Follis’ body was on the side of the road.
A picture of McCuller shows blood stains on his t-shirt and arm, and a red stain on a door knob. Pictures of the suspect’s apartment are shown.
There was a hammer on the floor, and a to-go bag. There was a sex doll with plastic wrapped around the head, as well. A picture of the slaughter room, a picture of a saw and rope and desk area that contained four journals is shown. Then pictures of the suspect and journal, as well as pictures of air pistols were shown as evidence.
The detective said he took a course while he was with the Longview PD pertaining to blood spatter.
On cross examination, the detective said he took the course months after the incident.
Receipt from Walmart showing purchase of mobile phone. Screen protector and phone case are shown.
Pics of victim’s clothing from the night of the crime scene at the wreck. The detective agrees that Lori was standing outside of vehicle when she was hit. She had road rash on her body. The hood of her sweatshirt had hair and blood.
Pictures of evidence from crash scene and from a bag that belongs to her were found in parking complex.
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