Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sixty Years (Again) for Alleged Child-Killer Erik Stoddard

From the SA's office (edited for style):

Today Judge Allen L. Schwait sentenced Erik Stoddard, 26, of the 2500 block of Moore Avenue, to 60 years in prison; 30 years for second degree murder and 30 years for child abuse resulting in death with the terms to run consecutively. Judge Schwait sentenced Stoddard after denying a defense motion for a new trial for the March 9, 2007 second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death conviction.

A Baltimore City jury convicted Stoddard March 13, 2003 of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death for the death of Calen Faith Dirubbo, age three, and Stoddard began serving a 60-year prison term. On December 8, 2005 the Maryland Court of Appeals vacated Stoddard's conviction, citing evidentiary issues regarding hearsay testimony. The mother of an 18-month-old child who witnessed the murder testified how the surviving child now acts and that the child asked, "Is Erik going to get me?" These statements were not used by prosecutors in the second trial.

On June 15, 2002 Dirubbo was pronounced dead at her home, where she lived with her mother and Stoddard. Dirubbo died as a result of multiple beatings over a period of at least a month; the fatal blow occurred June 15, 2002 and severed her bowel. The State proved through detailed medical evidence that Stoddard was the only person who had custody of Dirubbo when the fatal blow occurred.

Defense counsel argued the trial court erred by not asking a requested voir dire question as to whether any member of the jury panel was prejudiced against the defendant based on his race. The defendant, all State's witnesses, all lawyers in the case and the judge were white. The jury consisted of both whites and African-Americans.

After lengthy oral argument, during which the defendant was briefly removed from the courtroom due to his inappropriate behavior, Judge Schwait denied the motion and proceed to sentencing.

The maternal grandmother and aunt of victim Calen Dirubbo gave victim impact statements. The grandmother described to Judge Schwait
"the pain and anguish of ...knowing Calen suffered and died alone...her right to life brutally taken from her... robbing the family of watching her grow....creating a severe strain on family." She spoke of the defendant's violent behavior as "doling out destruction and pain...assaulting numerous women and finally murdering my three-year old granddaughter," and said Erik “has a human compassion, conscience or remorse.”
The maternal aunt of Calen stated,
"the pain and grief is immeasurable...daily I struggle with the pain and destruction left behind.... I am haunted by the 'wonders'...I wonder what she would look like now...wonder what kind of child would she be today?"
A letter submitted to the Judge by the brother of Calen stated
"I remember Erik slamming us against the wall...when he gave us a bath dunking us under the water....I wish Erik would be in jail forever."
While rendering his sentence, Judge Schwait stated, in part, that "he wished he could give the defendant more time." Stoddard concluded his remarks by expressing the belief that his convictions would be overturned (again), and said to the family of the victim "see you in a couple years."

A Baltimore City jury convicted Stoddard March 9, 2007 of second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault and first and second degree child abuse resulting in death. Prosecutors proceeded with a new trial after the Court of Appeals vacated Stoddard's 2003 conviction.


ppatin said...

No death penalty for John Gaumer. Un-freaking believable.

Maurice Bradbury said...

thanks PP.
I believe it.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Baltimore County's starting to sound like Baltimore city to me...

ppatin said...

Oh well, it's not like Maryland will ever execute anyone again anyways. Hopefully Gaumer's "well I have a clean record, so this murder won't ruin my future career will it?" attitude won't win him many friends in prison.

Anonymous said...

I guess he'll see who is the Big Thick Dude in the clink....

(Sorry, I just had to go there just once...)

Paul Erik's Cuz said...

He is innocent

Anonymous said...

My precious granddaughter would have been 12 this year. I picture her as a beautiful preteen with her vivid green eyes and curly locks of hair falling past her shoulders. I have.raised Calen's older brother -- he is 17 now and thrives. He still misses his sister. Damn you Erik Stoddard.