Ex-girlfriend says man admitted killing Man's brother testifies in murder of child

September 26, 1998|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

The last word Adam Faulkner heard before he died was a racial slur, according to emotional testimony yesterday in the trial of a Middle River man accused of killing the biracial child 16 years ago.

Tracey Leturno, who dated defendant Roger Stump off and on for nearly three years, wept as she testified about a conversation she and Stump had in 1992 as they smoked PCP on a beach in Hawthorne, not far from where 10-year-old Adam died. Stump described seeing Adam on the evening of June 28, 1982, as he and two other men drank beer near the water, Leturno testified.

"He said the little boy, Adam, came up and wanted to hang out with them and they said no, so he left. Later that night, he saw Adam and asked him if he wanted to go fishing and he said yes," Leturno said Stump told her.

"They went down by the water. He said to the little boy, 'You just made the biggest mistake of your life.' When Adam asked why, Stump responded with a racial slur, Leturno said.

Stump, who was 17 the summer that Adam died, told her that he killed the child, Leturno testified.

"He got a hand-sized piece of brick and hit him in the head," she said. "He said he liked the feel of it, so he did it again. He said the little boy was crying, 'I want my mommy, I want my mommy,' " Leturno said.

As Leturno described Adam's killing, his mother, Chessa LeAnn Barnett, bolted from the courtroom in tears and Stump's mother, Mary Stump, wept quietly into a handkerchief.

Adam's body was found the next day in Middle River. The body had been tied to a bicycle, weighted with bricks and concrete and tied to a piling in the river at Hawthorne.

The case remained at a standstill until last year, when Baltimore County detectives arrested Stump, 33, and his brother John, 32. Both were charged with first-degree murder, but the charge against John was reduced to accessory after the fact of murder. He was convicted on that charge in July but has not been sentenced.

The younger Stump was also a witness yesterday against his brother, testifying in a quavering voice and breaking into tears several times as he described being awakened by Roger Stump early on the morning of July 29, 1982.

"He was all excited and upset -- like, hyper," said John Stump, who recalled his brother telling him a slightly different version of events.

John Stump testified that his brother told him that he had been "horsing around" with Adam earlier that evening and the child began to cry, the younger Stump said.

"He said he grabbed him and started shaking him and the boy stopped crying. He said he wrapped him in a sleeping bag and put him in the water and tied him to a piling," John Stump said. "He said the boy was dead."

The younger Stump said his brother asked him to go down to the water and check to be sure the body was well-hidden. But he didn't believe his brother, he said, so he went back to sleep for about an hour.

Then he woke up -- "it was still dark," he said -- and decided to go to the river but saw nothing amiss. He and his brother did not FTC discuss the matter again, John Stump said, even after the body was discovered.

When the police came to interview them in 1982, John Stump testified, he didn't tell them about the pre-dawn conversation with his brother.

"I didn't want to get him in any trouble, and I didn't want to be in any trouble," the younger Stump said.

Under intense, often sarcastic questioning by his brother's defense attorney, Harold I. Glaser, John Stump insisted that an agreement he reached with the state's attorney did not affect his testimony. He said that after he had told police and prosecutors about the conversation with Roger, the prosecutors agreed to recommend that he be sentenced to five years' suspended jail time and five years' probation for the accessory charge.

"Why did you make a deal?" Glaser asked John Stump.

"You call that a deal?" Stump shot back. "To tell the truth?"

Pub Date: 9/26/98

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