17-year-old convicted in Dec. killing

September 25, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 17-year-old city youth was convicted last night in Baltimore County Circuit Court of first-degree murder in the killing of a Hunt Valley Burger King manager during a robbery in December.

Andre Lawson of the 1000 block of N. Central Ave. was also convicted of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery by a jury that deliberated for five hours after a four-day trial.

Lawson could get life in prison without parole when Judge Alexander Wright Jr. sentences him.

James Stambaugh Jr., 21, of Towson, was stabbed and beaten to death after closing the restaurant Dec. 23.

Assistant State's Attorney Mickey Norman told jurors in his closing argument yesterday that Stambaugh recognized one of his assailants and was stabbed when he fought off attempts to bind his face and hands with duct tape.

Four city youths were charged, including Breon Carlo English, 16, who pleaded guilty to felony murder in May.

"You can almost track the last moments of Jimmy Stambaugh's life as he's lead out of the office, gasping for air and blindfolded by duct tape wrapped around his head," Norman told jurors.

Lawson, with a rosary draped around his neck, testified yesterday that he intended only to rob the restaurant and tried to stop Courtney Darnell Bryant, 19, who he said began stabbing the victim after binding him.

"I turned around and I saw Courtney stab Mr. James Stambaugh, and I started arguing with Courtney. I didn't know anything about anyone stabbing anybody," Lawson said.

William Frederick Jones, 17, a Burger King worker, was acquitted of felony murder and robbery but convicted of conspiracy by a jury Sept. 1.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Bryant, whose trial is scheduled for Dec. 4.

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