Former police informant is sentenced to 20 years in prison for 1997 killing

Woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder

May 28, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A former Anne Arundel County police informant who confessed to stabbing another woman in a fit of anger was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison for the murder.

Emily Marie Fulcher, 35, described by county prosecutors as "somewhat of a pathetic character" and by her defense lawyers as a mentally ailing cocaine addict, said nothing to Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner other than that she was sorry "it had to happen at all." The victim's family had hoped for words of remorse.

Fulcher had pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder in the death April 23, 1997, of Linda Sue Dickey, 43, from the Curtis Bay area of Baltimore.

Fulcher had been charged with first-degree murder, after telling police she had stabbed Dickey with a roofing tool because Dickey was arguing about money with one of two unidentified Hispanic men whose truck they were in.

Lerner sentenced Fulcher to 25 years, suspending five of them in favor of four years' probation. The sentence was in the middle of the 15 to 25 years recommended in state sentencing guidelines. The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 30 years, but some members of Dickey's family had wanted the death penalty.

Citing Fulcher's confession in a case that proved difficult for police investigators, assistant public defender Robert Waldman asked for a sentence closer to 15 years. "I think she could have been rewarded a little more for" her help, Waldman said.

The victim, who had been charged with prostitution 20 days before her death, was about to enter a drug treatment program with her boyfriend. Her daughter, Cheryl Watkins, described her as a sweet woman who treated her daughter as a close friend.

"She was a good mom. My son was her whole life," Watkins said, pointing to her 10-year-old.

Watkins said that while she initially wanted Fulcher sentenced to death, she decided a long prison term would be harder.

Assistant State's Attorney Thomas J. Pryal said he thought the sentence was appropriate. It includes a recommendation for psychiatric treatment at Patuxent Institution.

The mystery of Dickey's death was unsolved for a more than a year.

At first, police thought she died in a hit-and-run auto crash, suffering a chest wound caused by jagged glass. By fall, her death was being investigated as possibly linked to a series of killings of prostitutes in Baltimore. Then, in June, police received a call that led them to Fulcher, a police informant who was living in hotels. Fulcher, whose informant activities have been sealed in the court file, denied any knowledge of the case -- yet kept calling investigators to talk about it.

After a month, she admitted she killed Dickey. "It was like peeling the layers of an onion," Waldman said.

Fulcher told police that the two men dumped the body in the 7700 block of Harmans Road, a secluded area in Severn. The wounds and other evidence matched what Fulcher told authorities.

The two men have not been identified.

Pub Date: 5/28/99

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