Man gets life without parole for sodomizing, killing boy, 7

April 16, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Despite a defense lawyer's plea for mercy, a man who sodomized, choked and stabbed to death a 7-year-old boy last year in East Baltimore was sentenced yesterday to life without parole.

In exchange for Stephone Williams' guilty plea, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Williams, 29, appeared before Baltimore Circuit Judge Clifton J. Gordy Jr. and admitted that he had sodomized and killed Rodney James Champy Jr. at the boy's home in the 1500 block of Lester Morton Court.

"I just went crazy. . . . I had sex with him, and I was holding him around the neck," Williams said in a police confession read aloud in court by prosecutor Gary Schenker.

Williams' attorney, Pamela L. North, told the judge that Williams "is very, very sorry for what happened to the victim" and that Williams himself was a victim of child abuse.

"We see the defendant as a victim as well," Ms. North said. "And we think the state should have some pity."

The attack occurred Feb. 15, 1991. Williams had begun visitingthe boy's home after befriending his mother, Jacqueline Cumberbatch. Williams had offered to repair a broken desk for Rodney, and his mother allowed him to enter their home, prosecutors said.

Rodney, a second-grader at Thomas G. Hayes Elementary School, was attacked after his mother had left for work. He was stabbed in the chest with a screwdriver, Mr. Schenker said.

Assistant State's Attorney Ilene J. Nathan called Williams "a predatory monster."

Ms. Nathan also read a victim impact statement from the boy's mother who said the slaying has made her uneasy when she looks at small children.

Ms. Cumberbatch would not go to the courtroom yesterday due to emotional strain of seeing Williams, Ms. Nathan said.

"She holds herself responsible for the death because she became friendly with the wrong person," Ms. Nathan said.

Williams, whose last known address was in the 1700 block of E. Oliver St., received a 10-year prison sentence with all but two years suspended in 1989 for child abuse and a second-degree sex offense. Those crimes involved two girls ages 4 and 7.

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