Jacksonville man convicted of killing ex-girlfriend, shooting her sister in 2017 gets life sentences

Absher guilty of 1st-degree murder, attempted 1st-degree murder, possession of firearm by convicted felon

JACKSONVILLE;Fla. – A man convicted of murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend, 30-year-old Christina “Ashlee” Rucker, and the attempted murder of her sister, was sentenced on Thursday to prison.

A jury found Chad Absher, 37, guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder last month. Absher shot and killed his ex-girlfriend at a San Juan Avenue condo on Halloween in 2017 and then shot her sister — Lisa Rucker.

A judge Thursday sentenced Absher to life in prison without parole for the murder of Ashlee Rucker, and life in prison for the attempted murder of her sister. The sentences are consecutive. He also was given 15 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which will run concurrently.

Absher said nothing in court Thursday. First-degree murder convictions are automatically appealed, even without a death sentence.

The judge herself said the facts of the case are horrifying. She didn’t take lightly that the children are forever traumatized after witnessing their mother and aunt be shot.

Lisa Rucker spoke to the court before the judge announced the sentencing.

“He left her dead for her own child and nephew to find,” she said. “I remember hearing my son beg me not to die, and I tried to tell him I was OK, which I was far from, I remember looking past him to see Joseph crying over his mother’s body. In that moment, I had no idea she was dead. I had hoped that she too was in and out of consciousness like I was.

“I spent five years listening to stories spread and rumors come about. I spent five years battling myself and my demons because now I am alone. Alone because Chad took the last person that I could go to for advice, for help, for understanding, for love. I spend the holidays alone because Chad took the last family I had left, and now, all I have are pictures.”

News4JAX asked Lisa Rucker after the sentencing if at any moment during the trial she had any doubts about the case.

“Every time he made a face. Every time he laughed or made a remark, the judge noted it,” Lisa Rucker said. “He did it, she took a note, he did it, she took a note. And you could see that. So I know she was basing what she was doing definitely off of him and his actions, and like I said in my statement, I had hoped for even a little sign of remorse, of just, like, he cared. But you sat on the stand and said that you loved someone and that you loved their children, but then you didn’t show that.”

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Lisa Rucker identified Absher as the shooter before she was taken to the hospital.

During the trial, Absher took the stand in his own defense. He claimed he never shot either woman. He said Ashlee Rucker shot at him and missed — and that the bullet hit Lisa. Then, Absher claimed that he and Ashlee Rucker fought for the gun and she pulled the trigger and shot herself.

The evidence did not support his claims.

A jury came back with a verdict in 90 minutes, finding him guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Absher also pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon.

“Originally, when it all first happened, I did want the death penalty for Chad,” Lisa Rucker said previously. “I think it’s what the right thing was because he took a life and tried to take two. However, after waiting multiple years for the Justice that we deserve, I realized that in all actuality it would be worse for him to leave out the rest of his life with nothing. He’s going to be in a room with nothing, and that’s more punishment than death itself.”

The Rucker family is also suing Absher for negligence. The next hearing for that civil case is set for Jan. 30.

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