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Burral's parole request denied

February 14, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

With the parents of victim Jeffrey Lynn Fiddler in attendance Tuesday, convicted murderer Lewis William Burral's request for parole was denied, a spokesman at the Maryland Parole Commission said Thursday.

Burral, one of four men charged in Fiddler's 1989 stabbing death, was convicted of second-degree murder in March 1996. He is serving his 30-year prison sentence at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup.

Jim and Teresa Fiddler attended the open parole hearing, which was held inside the prison where Burral, 37, is housed.

"We were all in the same room," Jim Fiddler said by telephone after returning from the hearing. "Every time I looked at Burral, he looked down at the floor."

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Jim Fiddler said Burral hasn't admitted his guilt or said he was sorry for killing their son 14 years ago.

"We were very pleased with how we were treated and with the process," Jim Fiddler said.

After the two Maryland Parole Commission hearing officers heard from all sides, they made their ruling on the spot to deny parole.

After his conviction seven years ago, Burral exhausted his state appeals. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court also declined to hear his appeal, part of which was based on the refusal of a Washington County Circuit judge to allow the jury to hear hypnosis-induced testimony from Fiddler's girlfriend.

Under hypnosis, the girlfriend had said she saw a fight between Fiddler and another man the night Fiddler died.

Prosecutors objected to the testimony at trial and it was barred.

The body of Fiddler, 21, was found along an exit ramp off Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania on Feb. 27, 1989. He had been fatally stabbed somewhere in Hagerstown and taken to the ramp site, police said.

The case went unsolved until Burral was arrested by police in Ohio in September 1995.

Burral did not take the stand in his own defense at his trial, but addressed the court briefly at his 1996 sentencing. He told Fiddler's parents then he was innocent and hoped they one day would discover who killed their son.

Burral was the first of four men tried for the crime.

Edward Charles Stouffer got a life sentence for convictions on charges of felony murder and kidnapping. The other two men were acquitted.

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