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Tamburo pleads not guilty in death of his father

September 20, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The man charged with the murder of his father and concealing his dead body, and who was reindicted Sept. 7 by a Morgan County grand jury, was arraigned Monday in Morgan County Circuit Court.

Stephen J. Tamburo III, 40, of Berkeley Springs, pleaded not guilty to the reindictment charges of murder, concealment of a dead human body, and six counts of forgery and uttering.

Tamburo is alleged to have forged his father's checks and tendered the documents, and Morgan County Prosecutor Debra MH McLaughlin said those charges are part of the murder case.

Stephen J. Tamburo III is charged with murder in the death of his father, Stephen J. Tamburo Jr., and concealing his body.

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In December 2008, Stephen J. Tamburo Jr., 62, went missing. In April 2009, a body later identified as his was found in the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management area near the Morgan County-Berkeley County line, authorities have said.

Defense attorney Francine Phillips wants the forgery and uttering counts removed, and submitted a motion to drop them as part of the new indictment.

Phillips said the checks written by Tamburo III were "not in his own interest." The mortgage check, for instance, was written in support of the household.

McLaughlin said the six forgery and uttering counts were all part of the murder and concealment case, including a $2,000 check to Billy Lynch, "who drove (Tamburo) to Florida," she said.

"Common sense indicates that he was the only one there to write the checks," McLaughlin said, arguing that therefore, the forgery and uttering charges should be part of one case.

Judge Gina M. Groh of the 23rd Judicial Circuit said her concern was whether the trial dates should be kept.

Phillips suggested the murder and concealment trial dates be kept, but that separate dates for the forgery and uttering counts be set.

Groh said Tamburo's Oct. 4 status hearing at 10 a.m. will include a hearing on the defense's motion to drop the forgery and uttering counts.

Tamburo's trial is set for Oct. 26, with a pretrial hearing on Oct. 14, Groh said.

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