Man convicted of threatening witnesses

May 13, 1997


Staff Writer

The brother of a convicted murderer was found guilty in Washington County Circuit Court Monday of two counts of obstruction of justice for threatening two witnesses who testified at the November murder trial.

William Richard Stouffer, 30, of Hagerstown, was jailed pending completion of a pre-sentence investigation ordered by Judge Darrow Glaser.

It took the jury one hour to reach a verdict finding that William Stouffer obstructed justice by threatening Tina Murray Desjardins during the trial of Edward Stouffer Oct. 28-Nov. 4, 1996.

They also found that William Stouffer obstructed justice by threatening Robert Schell after the trial.

A not guilty verdict was returned on the only other count, obstruction of justice by threatening Desjardins after the trial.

Maximum sentence for each count is five years in prison.

William Stouffer's defense mirrored his statement at his bond hearing last November.

"It was a big misunderstanding," William Stouffer said. "I didn't mean nothing."


Assistant State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum called witness after witness who heard William Stouffer threatening Schell and Desjardins.

Those witnesses included a Washington County sheriff's deputy who heard a threat inside the courthouse, and an employee of the State's Attorney's office who heard William Stouffer scream at Schell across West Washington Street.

"Your time is coming," Willie Stouffer was heard to shout to Schell that day on the street, testimony revealed.

Both Schell and Desjardins testified they were afraid of William Stouffer and believed his threats.

William Stouffer's criminal record included thefts, credit card offenses, and a number of occasions when he failed to appear for court.

Edward Stouffer, 27, was convicted Nov. 4 of felony murder and kidnapping in the 1989 death of Jeffrey Fiddler. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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