4 teens charged in fatal beating

Manager, 21, killed during robbery at fast-food restaurant

January 06, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Four teen-agers have been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal beating of a manager at a Hunt Valley Burger King during a robbery last month, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

The suspects, one of whom worked at the fast-food restaurant, are charged in the death of 21-year-old James W. Stambaugh Jr.

The Burger King in the 11300 block of York Road was robbed of $2,800 the night of Dec. 23. Stambaugh's badly beaten body was discovered in a trash bin behind the restaurant by employees reporting for work the morning of Dec. 24. Police arrested three suspects - including the Burger King worker - at their Baltimore homes late Wednesday and Thursday. The fourth teen-ager, also from Baltimore, turned himself in yesterday afternoon, Baltimore County police said.

FOR THE RECORD - An article about four teen-agers charged in the beating death of a Hunt Valley Burger King manager that appeared in Saturday's editions incorrectly identified the neighborhood in which one of the suspects lives. The address of one of the suspects was in the 1100 block of Somerset St., which is in East Baltimore, not Pimlico, as reported.
The Sun regrets the errors.

Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman, said the 16-year-old Burger King employee was apparently working the night of Dec. 23 when he helped the three suspects enter the restaurant as it was closing.

"We believe that he assisted in getting the suspects into the restaurant," Warehime said. "We also know during the robbery some sort of struggle broke out, and that is when Stambaugh was murdered."

The employee, William Frederick Jones, of the 100 block of S. Calhoun St. in West Baltimore, was arrested late Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder Thursday, Warehime said.

Jones led police to the other three suspects, according to charging documents.

Andre Lamont Lawson, 17, of the 1000 block of N. Central Ave., and Courtney Darnell Bryant, 18, of the 3200 block of Garrison Ave., were arrested Thursday. They also have been charged with robbery.

Jones, Lawson and Bryant are being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center without bail. All three have given taped statements to police "admitting to their part in the robbery," according to charging documents.

The fourth suspect, Breon Carlo English, of the 1100 block of Somerset St. in Pimlico, also is charged in a warrant with first-degree murder and robbery. English, 16, turned himself in at the Towson precinct about 3:45 p.m. yesterday.

A bail review hearing is set for Monday.

Several employees at the Hunt Valley Burger King shouted "I told you so" when they learned yesterday that Jones had been charged in Stambaugh's killing.

But David Waters, a Burger King manager, said: "We are just shocked."

Waters said Jones had worked at the restaurant for several months and was an "average employee."

"You do not expect a 16-year-old to be charged with murder," said Phil Hoag, the owner of the Hunt Valley restaurant.

Police would not say if Jones was involved in the beating and robbery or if he left after allegedly helping the robbers enter the restaurant.

"I do not know if he is involved in the actual robbery or murder or not," Hoag said. "It appears this kid propped the door open and let them in."

Hoag said a security guard had been stationed at the store the night of the robbery, but "he was not there at the very end."

Stambaugh, who lived with his father in the 1400 block of Putty Hill Ave. in Towson, began working for the Burger King company when he was 16. His car was stolen during the robbery and discovered the next day in the 2000 block of Wolfe St. in Baltimore.

Hoag said Burger King restaurants run "sporadic" background checks on potential employees. He refused to say if this incident would cause any policy changes.

"You almost feel held hostage by folks roaming around trying to take advantage of a situation," Hoag said.

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