Brother to testify against man in murder trial Defendant is charged in strangling of boy, 10

September 24, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Middle River man charged in the strangulation of a 10-year-old boy will face his brother as the key witness for the prosecution in a Baltimore County trial that began yesterday with emotional testimony about the child's last day of life.

Assistant State's Attorney Dean Stocksdale told the jury in his opening statement that John Stump, 32, convicted in July as an accessory after the fact of murder, has agreed to testify in exchange for a five-year suspended sentence and five years of probation.

John Stump, who was convicted for his role in helping submerge the body of Adam Faulkner in Middle River in June 1982, "will tell you what he's known for 16 years -- that his brother is responsible for the death of Adam Faulkner," Stocksdale said.

Roger Stump, 33, was charged last year with first-degree murder in the death of the boy, who ran away from home in Eastern Baltimore County on June 28, 1982, after having an argument with his stepfather.

The boy's body was found a few weeks later floating in Middle River, wrapped in his comforter with fishing line and tied to his orange bicycle.

Police and prosecutors charged the Stump brothers after witnesses came forward last year, saying the brothers told them of their involvement in the killing.

Yesterday, in Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr.'s courtroom, Roger Stump's defense lawyer, Harold I. Glaser, warned the jury that "this is strictly a circumstantial case." He strongly suggested that it was John, not Roger, who killed Adam.

The prosecutor, however, told the jury John Stump will testify that "Roger came in, woke him up, said he had been horseplaying. He was shaking Adam.

"Roger said Adam died," Stocksdale told jurors. "He took his lifeless body and tied it to his bike and submerged it in the water."

Stocksdale told the jurors they will hear from Roger Stump's former girlfriend that he told her he killed the boy. The prosecutor said they also will hear from a man imprisoned with Roger shortly after his arrest last year who overheard him say he had committed a murder, but that "it's not going to stick because I'm going to blame it on my dead father."

In the accessory to murder trial in July -- conducted by Bollinger without a jury -- witnesses testified that John Stump told them he helped his brother get rid of the evidence by concealing the boy's body in the water, along with his bicycle, fishing rod and tackle box.

As evidence, Glaser said that Adam told Roger Stump and two others the night he ran away that a man with long blond hair had stolen his fishing knife and broken his fishing pole. Glaser noted that John Stump has blond hair, while Roger has dark brown hair.

"His testimony will be incredible," Glaser said of John Stump. "He's a brother facing a maximum five years. To keep himself out of jail, he's coming to testify against his brother."

The prosecution's first witness against Roger Stump yesterday was Adam's mother, Chessa LeAnne Barnett, who now lives in Texas and who testified in the earlier trial.

In tearful testimony, she told the jury of her futile effort to find Adam the night he ran away.

Pub Date: 9/24/98

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.