Brother's charge is reduced in '82 slaying John Stump freed on bail in death of 10-year-old boy

November 13, 1997|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

One of two brothers arrested in September and charged with a child's murder in a 15-year-old case has been released on bail, after prosecutors reduced his charge to being an accessory after the fact to murder.

John Ellwood Stump, 31, was arrested Sept. 18 with his brother, Roger Allen Stump, 33. Arrest warrants charged both men with first-degree murder in the death of Adam Edward Faulkner, 10, whose body was found tied to a river piling in summer 1982.

The Stump brothers' initial request for bail was denied, despite their arguments that they were just "kids" when the slaying took place.

But prosecutors did not oppose the recent decision to grant bail to John Stump.

"We did not oppose bail because by law he is entitled to bail," said Assistant State's Attorney Jason G. League, who is assigned to the case.

League declined to comment on why the indictment charged the younger Stump with being an accessory after the fact of murder -- a less-serious crime than the charge of murder contained in the original police arrest warrant.

"The charges usually reflect our assessment of the case -- what the level of participation was," League said.

Bail of $5,000 was set Oct. 23 by Circuit Judge J. Norris Byrnes.

Two people filed letters with the court in support of John Stump's petition for bail, describing him as a devoted family man and hard worker.

One letter came from Christopher Belcher of Essex, who said he had known John Stump for 14 years. Belcher emphasized that John Stump was the sole financial support for his wife and two children.

"He is a loving father and it would be detrimental to the family for him to be absent from them for any length of time," Belcher wrote. "I hope you will look favorably upon John, who is a kind and gentle person who I believe would never do harm to another person."

The second letter was from Donald A. Groff, who owns the house rented by John Stump and his family.

"I have considered him a friend and not a tenant," Groff wrote. "At times I have called him just to ask him questions about boats because he is an excellent mechanic. I wish there were more people around who have high morals, outstanding character, friendliness and caring attitude like John Stump."

Gerald D. Glass, the attorney for John Stump, declined to comment on the case.

The Stumps' arrests shocked the modest neighborhood where NTC they grew up, Hawthorne Park near Middle River. It also provided developments in a case that had become a 15-year-old mystery.

On July 2, 1982, three days after his mother reported him missing, Adam's naked body was found tied to a piling in the Middle River. According to police documents, the boy had been strangled, wrapped in a comforter and then tied to the piling and to his bicycle.

The arrest report said witnesses told police that Roger Stump bragged at a party several years ago about killing a child he described with a racial epithet. The Stumps are white; Adam was biracial.

"Additional witnesses were identified who directly spoke to Roger Stump when he admitted that he was the person responsible for Adam Faulkner's death," the police report said.

"Further, John Stump had spoken with people admitting that he had helped in disposing of the evidence after his brother told him about the murder. He had also boasted that Adam Faulkner was still alive when they tied him to the piling and placed him in the water," the report said.

League, the prosecutor, said Roger Stump still is charged with first-degree murder. Bail is not granted on that charge, and he is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

No date has been set for the Stumps' trial, League said.

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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