Domestic Dispute Ends In Hampstead Shooting

April 10, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

HAMPSTEAD — Steven Edgar Rupp had his share of trouble.

Brushes with the law and with loved ones were frequent, and his quick temper often landed him in courtrooms or jail.

Rupp's temper, which frequently led to physical violence, also may have led to the 40-year-old's death Saturday night, police believe.

Charles Albert Rhodes Jr., 42, of the 800 block of Houcksville Road, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Rupp's shooting death.

Police say Rhodes and his estranged wife, Geenie, their two children and Rupp lived together in the Houcksville Road home for about five years. Rhodes sleptin one room while Rupp and Rhodes' wife slept in another. At one time, Rupp and Charles Rhodes were good friends.

Police said that around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, when Rupp and Geenie Rhodes fell into an argument. Charles Rhodes apparently came to his wife's aid.

"He has been asking for it for some time, and I couldn't take it any more," Charles Rhodes told Hampstead Police Officer Paul Steinmetz when the officer arrived at the home, court documents show.

"He has been beating on them for some time, and I just got tired of it."

During the argument, Charles Rhodes hid his 8-year-old son behind a kitchen walland then shot Rupp twice in the face with a 20-gauge shotgun, policesaid Rhodes told them. Rhodes' teen-age daughter was not at home at the time.

After the shooting, the state police in Westminster received a 911 call from a female who said an ambulance was needed at the home. A man who identified himself as Charles Rhodes got on the line and again requested an ambulance.

"I shot him," the man then told the operator, court records show.

Rupp's body was found by police in an upstairs hallway.

Police arrested Rhodes at the scene after interviewing him for about 20 minutes in state police Cpl. Wayne Moffatt's police cruiser.

He was being held without bond late Tuesday at the Carroll County Detention Center.

A bail review hearing scheduled for Monday was postponed because Rhodes did not have an attorney, said Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman.

A new bail review hearing had not been scheduled as of late Tuesday.

A check of records in Carroll District and Circuit courts revealed Rupp had a history of problems with the law, many related to assault and batterycharges.

In August 1983, he was convicted of several traffic offenses, including driving while intoxicated, assaulting two police officers, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from a chase by statepolice and Manchester police, who tried to pull Rupp over for drunken driving in November 1982, court records show.

Rupp tried to run over two of the officers with his car, records show. He was placed onprobation in the case and given a suspended jail term of five years.

According to a report by Rupp's parole and probation officer, he was doing well until October 1987, when he was convicted in Howard County Circuit Court of trying to elude a Howard County police officer and then assaulting her.

In October 1988, Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. found him guilty of violating his probation but did not send him to jail.

Several charges of assault and malicious destruction of property were filed against Rupp by his former wife, Mary Jo Rupp.

Hickman said many of those cases were dropped because Rupp's wife refused to testify against him in court.

Court records show Rhodes was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 1989 and was on probation at the time of the shooting.

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