Catherine Fuller was born Christmas Day, 1935,, and a few decades later she was married on Christmas Eve. Together, she and her husband made a home in Northeast Washington and raised a family of six children.
Last Christmas the Fuller house was strangely quiet. Catherine Fuller, who used to take pride in preparing the holiday banquet, had been brutally murdered 3 months earlier.
This year, the D.C. police Crime Solvers program, which pays tipsters who help police solve cases, will make its first award to a victim's family. The program will give David Fuller, Catherine Fuller's husband, a check for $500.
"We felt that this is the time of the year when we should remember those whose hurt continues," said Tammy Wolfe, spokesman for the Crime Solvers program. The program is also accepting donations from the public for the family, she said. "I can't think of a case that has captured the public's interest and sentiment more," she added.
Catherine Fuller was out shopping Oct. 1, 1984, when she was forced into an alley behind H Street NE, robbed, stripped nearly naked, brutally beaten, kicked and left in an abandoned garage to die. Ten young persons charged in her slaying are on trial in D.C. Superior Court.
The Crime Solvers' gift to the Fuller family is part of a larger effort to expand the program in the year ahead, Wolfe said.
D.C. Crime Solvers is working on an agreement with the National Association of Theater Owners of D.C. to show a 30-second film about the program in city movie theaters. She said she hopes the film will premiere in February.
A spokesman for the theater group said he is confident that the owners will want to participate.
The program has also purchased a new computer to help keep track of cases and the information supplied by tipsters, Wolfe said. It is believed to be the first computer devoted to a Crime Solvers program in the country, she said. There are 650 Crime Solvers programs nationwide.
Since the program began in the District in June 1981, D.C. Crime Solvers has received information leading to 155 arrests -- including 27 for homicides -- and has paid out more than $21,000 in cash rewards to tipsters, according to Lt. William White I I I, the department's chief spokesman.
Last year, D.C. police made 61 arrests and recovered more than $120,000 in stolen property and $365,000 in narcotics based on information received by the Crime Solvers Unit.
The District won a nationwide award for having the most improved program, police spokesman Allen Harper said.