Police informant admits killing woman

Fulcher pleads guilty to second-degree murder, could get 25-year term

April 13, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County police narcotics informant admitted yesterday that in a fit of anger she stabbed another woman to death -- a drug addict and suspected prostitute whose body was dumped in a secluded bend of a Severn road.

Emily Marie Fulcher, 35, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Linda Sue Dickey, 43, in a brief hearing before Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner.

Assistant State's Attorney Thomas J. Pryal agreed to seek a prison term of 15 to 25 years -- the time recommended by state guidelines -- when Fulcher is sentenced next month. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 30 years.

Lerner's court orders this year barred both sides from divulging information about Fulcher's role as a drug informant. Fulcher, who told police she lived in hotels but had no permanent address, was described by defense lawyers in court documents as having a "long and close relationship with the narcotics section" of the Police Department.

Fulcher had confessed to the crime after repeated questioning by police, with some interviews held at her request, but not before police had exhausted other avenues.

"Emily Fulcher cooperated with the police to her own downfall," said Robert Waldman, assistant public defender. He said his client, who has a minor criminal record, receives disability payments for back injuries and mental health problems.

The April 23, 1997, murder of Dickey, of the Curtis Bay area of Baltimore, stumped county homicide investigators for more than a year. At first, police thought Dickey died in a a hit-and-run auto crash, with a jagged chest wound caused by glass or a mirror.

In fall 1997, Dickey's death was being investigated as possibly tied to a series of slayings of prostitutes in the city. In early talks with police, Fulcher said a Hispanic man had killed Dickey. Dickey, who had numerous drug arrests, had been charged with prostitution 20 days before her death.

Dickey's family told police she was an addict seeking treatment.

Police received an anonymous telephone call in June, leading them to Fulcher, who was walking on U.S. 1 near Laurel.

When she admitted in July that she had been with Dickey during the early morning hours of the day Dickey's body was found and stabbed her in anger, she was charged with first-degree murder.

Dickey and a Hispanic man, believed to be a drug dealer, were seen arguing in Curtis Bay the night before her death, and a witness told police the man struck her. By 4: 30 a.m. the day Dickey was killed, she and Fulcher were in a red pickup truck with two Hispanic men, Pryal said. Dickey was arguing with one of them, Ricardo, over money she supposedly owed him.

They argued as the four drove to Severn. Dickey got out of the car on Harmans Road as the dispute intensified. Fearful that Dickey's carrying on would attract police, Fulcher chased after her, hurting her hand and then smacking Dickey in the chest with a roofing tool. The argument continued until Dickey collapsed, Pryal said. The men put Dickey in the back of the truck, dropping her body in the 7700 block of Harmans Road.

Fulcher's description of Dickey's injuries matched the autopsy findings, Waldman said.

The case is not considered closed, Pryal said. County police hope to find the two men.

Lt. Barry Baker, who heads a unit in the Baltimore police Southern District that investigates and catalogs attacks on prostitutes, said police find that assaults of prostitutes sometimes are precursors to attacks on other women.

"We are looking all the time," he said.

The Hispanic men who attacked three, possibly four, women in Baltimore have not been arrested, though no more similar assaults have been reported.

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