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Man convicted in slaying denied new trial

November 21, 1996

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Convicted murderer Edward Charles Stouffer's motion for a new trial Wednesday was denied by Washington County Circuit Judge Fred Wright.

Defense attorney Arthur Boyce argued unsuccessfully that the evidence was insufficient, that the weight of the evidence wasn't sufficient and that a hair sample and a statement should have been suppressed.

A jury, which heard testimony for five days, deliberated for five hours Nov. 4 before finding Stouffer guilty of felony murder and kidnapping in the 1989 death of Jeffrey Fiddler.

Stouffer, 27, of Hagerstown, was jailed pending completion of a pre-sentence investigation.

Stouffer was the second man to be convicted in the death of Fiddler seven years ago. Two others were acquitted, one by a jury and one by a judge.

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During Stouffer's trial, prosecutors had said drug dealing and gun running figured in Fiddler's death.

"Jeff Fiddler knew too much and Stouffer knew it,'' said Assistant State's Attorney Susan Haugh.

According to court records, Fiddler, then 21, was killed because he found out about illegal activities and it was feared he would go to the police.

Fiddler's body was discovered by a trucker at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 27, 1989, in a ditch next to the northbound entrance ramp to Interstate 81 in Franklin County, Pa. He was identified through military dog tags found in his pocket.

After five years of inactivity, the case was reopened last year and five men were charged. The state later dropped charges against one man, leaving four to stand trial.

Two cases ended with acquittals but in mid-March, but a jury found Lewis William Burral, 29, of Hagerstown, guilty of second-degree murder.

Burral was sentenced to 30 years in prison Nov. 12.

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