Boy, 16, charged in fatal shooting of his stepfather Poly student held without bond

October 29, 1992|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Polytechnic Institute senior was charged yesterday with killing his stepfather three weeks ago as the man slept on a mattress in a sparsely furnished apartment in North Baltimore.

Michael Anthony Rumber Jr., charged as an adult with first-degree murder and a handgun offense, was sent to the Baltimore Detention Center after being denied bond by Judge Martin A. Kircher in Eastside District Court.

The youth, who police said had been living recently with his father in Randallstown, was picked up for questioning there Tuesday and was formally charged early yesterday in the Oct. 7 shooting of Hubert Anthony Burke, 28.

Judge Kircher said the statement of charges -- which did not cite a motive -- contained some "pretty heavy" evidence. The murder weapon was recovered and a test of the youth's hands several hours after the slaying indicated he had fired a weapon, the judge said.

A representative of the state's pretrial release system recommended that young Rumber be denied bail because of the seriousness of the crime. It was noted that the youth had no criminal record.

Several of the youth's relatives were in court, but none spoke during the brief hearing.

Mr. Burke was found slain about 5 p.m. Oct. 7 in his apartment in the 900 block of Belgian Ave. His wife -- young Rumber's mother -- found the body, police said.

Homicide Detective Oscar L. Requer said the victim was shot "right beyond the ear while he was sleeping. The man never moved."

Police said someone placed a .38-caliber handgun behind Mr. Burke's ear and fired one shot, killing him instantly. Mr. Burke, who was facing eviction the following day, was asleep on a mattress at the time, police said.

"The apartment was sparsely furnished. There was nothing to steal," Detective Requer said.

The detective also said the motive for the shooting was unknown.

Police alleged that the suspect took a handgun from his grandparents' house and used it to kill Mr. Burke.

Police said the victim had been married to the suspect's mother, Lolita Burke, 35, for about four years. Mrs. Burke is a receptionist in the construction inspection office of Baltimore County's public works department.

Police said the youth moved out of the apartment several weeks before the slaying because of a strained relationship with the victim and went to live with his father, Michael A. Rumber Sr., 38, an auditor in Baltimore for the sales and use tax division of the state comptroller's office.

After the shooting, investigators said they determined that only the victim, his wife and the youth had keys to the apartment where the slaying took place.

Poly, the school young Rumber attends, is a citywide high school with a focus on mathematics, science and engineering. It has specific entrance requirements and is considered to have one of the city's strongest academic programs.

Robert G. Draine, a Poly administrator, said he could not release the teen's academic records, but added: "He is a satisfactory student. The fact that he has been at Poly for three straight years shows he did well."

The administrator said school records indicate that the youth "has not been a behavior problem. His file is quite good."

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