Witness doubted, so bail discounted
June 25, 2008 · Updated 3:54 PM
By JESSIE STENSLAND
An Island County Superior Court judge lowered bail from $250,000 to $50,000 for a South Whidbey man accused of trafficking in stolen property and owning a couple of pipe bombs.
But if John Stumpf, 44, makes bail, hell have to stay home and submit to electronic home monitoring. Hed only be allowed to have contact with family members and his sons caregivers.
Stumpf, who was arrested in an Island County Sheriffs Office sting at his Freeland home in September, is facing a long list of felonies, though his attorney is already providing a vigorous defense.
Stumpf was charged in Island County Superior Court Sept. 25 with two counts of possession of a prohibited explosive device, first-degree trafficking in stolen property, possession of stolen property in the first degree, possession of an illegal firearm, conspiracy to commit, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of methamphetamine.
In a separate case involving antique furniture, Stumpf was charged Nov. 6 with possession of stolen property in the second degree and trafficking in stolen property.
A man who worked for Stumpf as a money collector and enforcer had a falling out with him and went to police last fall about his activities, according to a sheriffs office report. When Stumpf was arrested, the sheriffs office hauled away a moving truck full of items allegedly stolen from construction worksites.
The man, who is a member of an outlaw motorcycle club called the Ghost Riders, claimed Stumpf was trafficking drugs and stolen property from his Rhodie Lane home. The man said Stumpf had used violence and intimidation to get people to pay what they owed him.
The report states that the sheriffs office served a search warrant on Stumpfs home Sept. 20 and recovered numerous stolen items, including gardening equipment, power tools, stereo equipment, a trolling motor, two pickup canopies and fishing equipment. The stolen items matched items reported missing in at least 10 Island County burglaries, Birchfield wrote.
The deputies also seized two stolen firearms from Stumpfs home, the report states, as well as some loose methamphetamine.
According to the report, a deputy found two devices in Stumpfs garage that turned out to be homemade bombs, fused and ready to go. A deputy who is also a retired Navy explosives expert disarmed both bombs.
Yet in a motion to lower bail, Stumpfs attorney, Roy Howson of Mount Vernon, argued that the prosecutions case relies solely on the unreliable testimony of an outlaw biker. Howson pointed out that Stumpfs accuser is wanted on warrants and has four assault convictions on his record, whereas Stumpf has no criminal history.
Howson wrote in a brief to Island County Superior Court that Stumpf and his wife took in many troubled youth, youth who left stolen items in his home. He wrote that the pistol and the pipe bombs belonged to Stumpfs son and / or friends. He claimed that the meth was actually Ritalin, for which Stumpfs son has a prescription.
If convicted of the charges against him, Stumpf would face nine to 12 years in prison.