Judge finds man guilty in boy's death Stump an accessory in '82 strangulation, Bollinger rules

'Senseless' act

Brother is charged in killing of Middle River youth

July 22, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County judge yesterday convicted a boat mechanic of being an accessory after the fact of murder in the killing of a 10-year-old boy found strangled and floating in Middle River with his bicycle in 1982.

Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr. convicted John E. Stump -- who was 15 at the time of the death -- of concealing Adam E. Faulkner's body in the water by weighing it down with a cinder block.

Stump, now 31, was arrested in September, along with his elder brother, Roger Stump, 33, who is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge for allegedly strangling the boy in the early morning of June 29, 1982. After hearing four witnesses say John Stump told them he was involved in the killing, Bollinger said, "I find the evidence overwhelmingly convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt" that Stump is "guilty of accessory after the fact of the senseless murder of a young man."

Adam's mother, Chessa LeAnne Barnett, a corrections officer living in Oklahoma, left the courtroom in tears but with a slight smile after the conviction. She declined to comment.

Bollinger ordered Stump's bail revoked and sent him to the Baltimore County Detention Center to await sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. He could face up to five years in prison.

Stump's wife, Susan, wept after deputy sheriffs took her husband away. She said prosecutors "destroyed my family over things they heard. There were no proven facts. It was all hearsay. I thought this was America. They have to have proof to convict someone."

According to evidence in the case, the Stump brothers referred to Adam with racial slurs after his death. Adam was biracial. The Stump brothers are white.

Prosecutors presented a case based on circumstantial evidence. Four witnesses repeated to the judge statements they said John Stump made to them years ago about helping his brother get rid of the evidence by concealing the boy's body in the water, along with Adam's bicycle, fishing rod and tackle box.

A fifth witness testified that he last saw Faulkner fishing by Middle River, in the company of Roger Stump. Adam lived a few blocks from the Stump brothers, who still reside in Middle River.

Yesterday, Daniel Correll, 30, testified that shortly after Faulkner's death he was with John Stump when a police car drove by. He quoted Stump as saying, "They're looking for Adam. They ain't gonna find him. They're looking in the wrong spot."

John Stump chose not to take the witness stand in his own defense. Defense attorney Gerald D. Glass brought only one witness, Ernest Gover, who said homicide detectives pressured him to implicate Stump in the killing.

"They told me I would be locked up," Gover told Glass.

Under cross-examination by Assistant State's Attorney Dean Stocksdale, Gover said he did not recall telling a detective in a tape-recorded conversation that John Stump said he "had to clean up the mess" after Adam's death.

Glass, in his final argument to the judge, attempted to cast doubt on the state's case against John Stump, focusing on key evidence that prompted the indictments last year, 15 years after Adam's death.

The defense attorney noted that police said they received new information that a cinder block had been used to weigh down the boy's body.

Detective Jay Landsman told a grand jury that after searching the water last year, police found a cinder block with what they said was the same fishing line that had been attached to the boy's body.

But Glass said an FBI lab report found the fishing line attached to the cinder block was not the same type as the line tied to the boy's body.

"The fishing line was the crucial link. It came back as being not the same line," Glass told Bollinger.

In her closing argument, Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst said the witnesses who testified against Stump had "no bias" against him and no reason to lie about his statements, made when they were teen-agers.

Pub Date: 7/22/98

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.