City man indicted in death of girl, 3

Boyfriend of mother charged in fatal beating, unrelated 2001 assault

July 16, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore man was indicted yesterday for first-degree murder and child abuse in the beating death last month of the 3-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.

Erik Stoddard, 21, of the 2500 block of Moore Ave. was indicted in the killing of Calen Faith Dirubbo. Stoddard lived at that address with the girl and her mother, Cheryl Dieter-Dirubbo.

He was also indicted yesterday in an unrelated case of two counts of second-degree assault. Stoddard is accused of assaulting two women in a house in the 6900 block of Harford Road in November, authorities say.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 23 before Circuit Judge Clifton J. Gordy.

Police initially arrested the girl's stepfather, Nicholas Dieter, in connection with her death, but prosecutors later dropped charges after evidence surfaced implicating Stoddard.

When Dieter arrived to baby-sit the girl at her home June 16, she had been beaten and was either dead or dying, police said. The girl's mother and Stoddard had gone out for the night, authorities said.

Dieter called 911 when he found the girl unresponsive, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stoddard was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault two days after the girl's death.

According to the medical examiner, Calen had bruises from head to toe that were in various stages of healing and had been inflicted for the past several months.

She died from "blunt force trauma impact to the abdominal region" that ruptured her organs, causing her to bleed to death over several hours.

The medical examiner's office said Calen's fatal injury was the result of "at least two punches by an adult fist."

According to authorities, Dieter-Dirubbo said during a taped statement that she had heard her daughter "scream in pain" on several occasions while she was in Stoddard's care. When she investigated the screams, Dieter-Dirubbo told police, Stoddard said he didn't know why the girl had cried out. The child was allowed to whimper, not cry, Dieter-Dirubbo said, adding that she was punished for crying.

Dieter-Dirubbo also told authorities that after noticing bruises on her daughter, she told Stoddard not to hit the child when he disciplined her.

She also said Stoddard abused her, having once hit her in the chest so hard that it "knocked the wind" out of her.

Dieter-Dirubbo told authorities she was afraid of Stoddard.

Assistant State's Attorney Julie Drake, chief of the Felony Family Violence Division, will prosecute Stoddard in each of the cases, for which he will be tried separately.

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