Trial opens in killing of boy, 10 Mechanic, 31, charged in 1982 slaying

Body found in Middle River

Victim's kin identifies bicycle her son rode

July 21, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Sixteen years after her 10-year-old son was killed, Chessa LeAnne Barnett looked down from the witness stand in a Baltimore County courtroom yesterday and broke into tears as she identified the orange bicycle her son rode the last night of his life.

Her testimony came as the trial opened for John E. Stump, 31, a boat mechanic charged as an accessory after the fact of murder in the slaying of Adam E. Faulkner, whose strangled body was pulled from Middle River on July 2, 1982, with his bicycle.

Police and prosecutors allege that Stump, who was 15 at the time, helped his brother Roger Stump conceal the boy's body in the water after Roger had killed him. Roger Stump, 33, who is charged with first-degree murder, is to be tried in September.

Police arrested the brothers last September after someone claimed to have heard Roger Stump say he killed a boy, whom he referred to with a racial slur, in Hawthorne Park several years earlier.

The case is a circumstantial one, with no direct evidence -- such as fingerprints or a weapon -- to link the Stump brothers to the victim, who was biracial.

In his opening statement to Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr., who is trying the case without a jury, Assistant State's Attorney Dean Stocksdale said prosecutors will show that John Stump "helped his brother in disposing of the evidence."

Adam, who lived in the Middle River area, had run away from home the night of June 28, 1982, riding his bicycle and carrying a fishing pole, tackle box and a comforter from his bed.

Yesterday, two witnesses testified that they had conversations with John Stump indicating he had participated in the killing.

Brian Stubbe testified that Stump told him shortly after the killing that his brother Roger had kicked Adam in the throat after the boy "hooked him" -- presumably with a fishing hook -- then panicked when the boy stopped breathing.

Stubbe said John told him he later went to Middle River at Roger's request and weighed down Adam's body with bricks.

Kathleen Kalinowski, John Stump's former girlfriend, testified that he told her he was going to kill a boy if she didn't get back together with him, also using a racial slur to refer to the boy. He allegedly made his statement after the killing but before Adam's body was discovered.

Adam's mother, now a corrections officer living in Oklahoma, said she had searched for her son the night he ran away, and said she filed a missing persons report with police.

The body was found a few days later, wrapped in a comforter and tied to fishing line that was also tied to a bicycle.

Yesterday, Barnett identified her son from a photograph of him taken at Easter of that year and identified a photo of his comforter. When she was shown the little orange bike, she cried.

When Stump's defense attorney Gerald D. Glass asked her if she needed a few minutes to collect herself before he began cross-examination, she said she preferred to move on with the case. "I waited a long time for this," she said.

Earlier, Barnett sat through pretrial motions in the courtroom, gently holding a red and yellow checked shirt that had belonged to her son.

During the prosecution's case yesterday, Philip Lindsay, a childhood friend of Roger Stump who grew up in the area, testified that he saw Adam near Hawthorne Park in the early-morning hours after the boy ran away from home. He said Adam had been crying because he said someone had broken his fishing pole and fishing knife.

Lindsay, who had been outside drinking beer, said he and two friends -- one of whom was Roger Stump -- walked with the boy to look for the people who had broken his fishing gear, but "I didn't see anybody."

Lindsay said he went home at 3 a.m., leaving Adam alone with Roger Stump.

During his opening statement, defense attorney Glass noted that in John Stump's statement to police, after nine hours of questioning, "He doesn't say he did anything wrong."

Pub Date: 7/21/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.