Man Admits 2nd-degree Murder Of Child, 3

July 01, 2009|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,

The boys, then ages 3 and 5, called Phillip Queen "Uncle Snake"- and Jabari, the younger one, feared him.

He clung to his mother whenever Queen called for him, and when his mother, Gladys Stocks, found an unexplained bruise on the boy's chest, she privately confronted her boyfriend but never called police. It was easier to avoid the fighting and the police, she testified, than to confront reality and send her boyfriend back to jail.

At the urging of his mother, Queen, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the second-degree murder of 3-year-old Jabari Stocks moments before the victim's elder brother, now 7 and the sole witness to the crime, was to have testified before a Baltimore jury.

Under the plea agreement, Baltimore Circuit Judge Charles Bernstein is expected to sentence Queen to 30 years in prison for the June 2007 killing in the Patapsco Avenue apartment he shared with the boys and their mother.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Julie Drake argued that Queen had become jealous of Jabari, who dominated his mother's attention because he suffered from severe gastro-reflux disease, which caused him to frequently vomit and have digestion problems.

Drake said that Jabari's brother would have testified that the two boys had been playing loudly in their room when Queen stormed in and dragged Jabari into the other bedroom by his shirt. After hearing a loud thump, the older brother ran into the other room, where he screamed out "Jabari!" and then fell to the floor trying to revive his lifeless brother.

No one else was in the home at the time. Instead of calling 911, Queen called Jabari's mother, who rushed home from the Glen Burnie grocery store where she worked and drove the family to Harbor Hospital.

Queen's attorney, Isaiah Dixon III, said that he lost the case when Bernstein ruled that his client's two statements to police, which were riddled with contradictions, could be shown to the jury.

In the second statement, Queen claimed that he didn't call 911 because he didn't know his own address. He also said that Jabari had choked on his food.

After the plea was done, several jurors told Drake that Queen's decision not to call 911 was the most troublesome fact they had heard thus far.

Drake also shared with them that Jabari's brother was sitting in her office downstairs ready to testify but was very scared. All morning he had been asking her staff "whether Snake was going to be there." Drake told jurors she accepted a plea to second-degree murder "to spare" the 7-year-old the trauma of testifying.

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