Evidence Against Rhodes Is Inadmissible, Defense Says

Lawyers Contend His Confession To Police Was Improperly Obtained

November 13, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — Lawyers for a Hampstead man charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife's lover will argue tomorrow that his confession and other evidence were improperly obtained and should not be admitted in court.

Charles Albert Rhodes Jr. of the 800 block of Houcksville Road is charged with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Steven Edgar Rupp.

Public defenders Brian Green and Rick Bernhardt are seeking to suppress statements their client made to police and evidence seized at the scene of the shooting.

They are expected to argue before Circuit Judge Raymond E.

Beck that Rhodes' statements and the evidence were obtained improperly. They have not disclosed the grounds for their contention.

Deputy State's Attorney Edward M. Ulsch will opposethe defense attorneys' motions and argue that a county jury should be allowed to consider the information.

Police say Rhodes, 42, and his estranged wife, Geenie, their two children and Rupp lived together in the Houcksville Road home. Rhodes slept in one room; Rupp and Rhodes' wife slept in another.

According to court documents, Rupp and Geenie Rhodes apparently argued around 9:30 p.m. April 6, with Charles Rhodes coming 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 policeman 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," the statement said.

During the argument, Rhodes hid his 8-year-old son behind a kitchen wall, then shot Rupp twice in the face with a 20-gauge shotgun, police said Rhodes told them.

After the shooting, 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 Rhodes got on the line and againrequested an ambulance.

"I shot him," the man told the operator.

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 Cpl. Wayne Moffatt's police cruiser.

Rupp was a combative man whose temper frequently led to physical violence, police and courtrecords show.

In August 1983, Rupp was convicted of several traffic offenses, assaulting two police officers, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from a 1982 chase by state police and Manchester police.

Rupp tried to run over two of the officers with his car, court records show.

He was placed on probation and a five-year jail term was suspended.

Rupp's probation officer reported he was doing well until 1987, when he was convicted in Howard County Circuit Courtof trying to elude a Howard County police officer and assaulting her.

Several charges of assault and malicious destruction of propertywere filed against Rupp by his former wife.

Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said many of those charges against Rupp were dropped because his wife refused to testify against him.

Rhodes has remained free on bail pending his Dec. 2 trial in Carroll Circuit Court.

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