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Judy Stump, Witness for the Defendant



Next witness, please.

(The witness left the witness stand.)

MR. LLOYD: The defense would call Judy Stump to the stand.

JUDY STUMP, being first duly sworn, testified as follows during DIRECT EXAMINATION by MR. LLOYD:

Q    Mrs. Stump, would you state your name for the record, please, ma'am.

A    Judy Stump.

Q    And where do you live?

A    5313 Coble Church Road, Julian.

Q    And where do you work, Mrs. Stump?

A    Edge Paper Company.

Q    Okay. Do you know the defendant, Ronnie Kimble, in this case?

A    Yes. He's my son-in-law.

Q    All right. And if you could keep your voice up, Mrs. Stump, so that the jurors on the very back can hear you.

A    Okay.

Q    Would you repeat that, please.

A    Yes. He's my son-in-law.

Q    And how long have you known him?

A    Since he was 14 years old.

Q    And directing your attention to the events of October 9, 1995, did there come a time when you saw Ronnie and Kim


on that day?

A    Yes.

Q    And when was that, Judy?

A    They came down to the house, the Channel 2 news was on, and it was early on, because the weather report, I know, had not come on, and they came to the house. And Ronnie went in and laid across the living room floor, talking to James and

watching the TV, too. And Kim and I stayed in the kitchen and was working on an order that she wanted me to take to work with me the next day, to send off with some of the other girls in the office, to help on the shipping and handling.

Q    Now, what was the --

A    It was --

Q    What was the purpose of this order?

A    Christmas. She was wanting to start buying some -­getting some Christmas gifts early, because they're -- it was -- well, she couldn't buy it all at one time, so she wanted to go ahead and start getting some Christmas things together.

Q    All right. And were you and Kim looking at a catalog on this occasion?

A    Oh, yes. She had looked at it quite a bit, and I kept telling her "The girls are going to send this order off on Tuesday. You've got to get this order to me, so I can get


it to them." And she just kept adding to her list. And then finally she came down, and we -- we stood at the bar for a while, then we sat down at the table, and we were going over it item by item, to make sure I got the correct thing down.

Q    All right. Now, while you were looking at the catalog, Mrs. Stump, did you talk about other things?

A    Well, probably not.

Q    Okay. Well, my question to you is, was your conversation with Kim centered solely on --

A    Right.

Q    -- exactly what she was going to order?

A    Yes. Because we wanted to make sure we got the item number right, the page number, and that there would be no question that everything would come in exactly like she wanted it.

Q    Now, were you doing a little socializing during this time, as well?

A    Probably me making a comment to her, "What do you want that for?" or "Who are you ordering that for?" but that would be about it.

Q    All right. Now, did there come a time when you left the kitchen area?

A    After we finally finished the order, we walked in and sit down and -- in the den with James and Ronnie and talked


for a little bit. And they finally said they had to -- they needed to leave, they had not had any dinner, Kim needed to take a shower, Ronnie needed to get up to leave early the next morning, to go back to the base, because he had to be there at noon, and that they were going to go up to Winn-Dixie and get something to eat.

Q    Now, had you and your husband already eaten at this time?

A    Yes.

Q    And when you -- Well, let me ask you this, Mrs. Stump. Did Ronnie and Kim leave your home?

A    Did they leave my home?

Q    Yes.

A    Yeah.

Q    All right. And when was that?

A    Just before we left to go -- or walked out on the carport, "Wheel of Fortune" had come on. And when Ronnie was going to be going back to the base, it bothered me, because it was a long trip, I knew he got sleepy real, real easy. And I would always -- every time he came in for the weekend, my last words to him when he was at our house, because usually on Sunday afternoon, they would eat -- or Sunday lunch, they would eat with us, we'd go out on the carport, and I would say, "Ronnie, please be careful. Watch your speed. Stay awake. If you get sleepy, pull off the


road. Even if it means you getting back late. Please be careful. We want to see you the next time." And I always hugged him, kissed him, told him I loved him. So we were probably on the carport a good 10 minutes.

Q    And did you say these things to Ronnie on this occasion?

A    Every time.

Q    All right. Now, directing your attention to when you were all in the house together, do you recall what programs had come on the news?

A    Well, I -- well, I know that on News 2, which I wasn't -- I heard James mention it to him, and then when we went into the den, James said something -- was talking about it again. News 2 had been talking about, on "2 Wants to Know," about how people had had problems getting -- where they had bought mobile homes and had problems getting people back out to work on the mobile homes, to get the problems corrected. And I made the comment, I said, "Well, y'all really haven't -- you've had some problems, but you really haven't had a problem getting them back out to work on y'all's," simply because we would make the date available for me to be up there, for them to come out and work on it, because with Kim -- Kim was working full-time, I only worked part-time, Ronnie at the base during the week. So we never had a problem with them getting there, but we -- you know, they


were having a segment on News 2, "2 Wants to Know," about people having these problems.

Q    All right. And to the best of your recollection, Mrs. Stump, what time did Kim and Ronnie leave your house that night?

A    Well, it was after 7:00, because "Wheel of Fortune" had came on. But I couldn't tell you whether it was five after, 10 after, three after, but it was after 7:00. And then we stood out on the carport probably, I would say -- I don't know how to say "bye" quick. We probably stood out on the carport a good 10 minutes --

Q    Did --

A    -- five to 10 minutes.

Q    Did you see Ronnie and Kim again that night?

A    When they came back to the house, after they had been over to Patricia and Ted's.

Q    Okay. And did you get a phone call from Kim anytime before that?

A    Yes. Kim called and she says, "Mom," she says, "we got a call. Ted and Patricia's house is on fire. And Ronnie and I want to go over there." And she says, "I've paged Edna, and I can't get her." She said, "Will you continue to try to page her and put your phone number in." She says, "But, now, when she calls, don't scare her." She says, "Be calm about it, and tell her that Ted and Patricia's house is


on fire." And she says, "Ronnie and I are going to go on over there."

Q    All right. And were you able to get up with -­

A    Well, I paged her --

Q    -- Edna Kimble?

A    -- and then she -- yeah, she did -- she did return my page.

Q    Did she know about the fire at the time that she returned your page, or were you the one who told her?

A    I told her. I didn't ask her if she knew. I just told her that I had gotten this call from Kim, and the call that she had gotten, and then I told her what I was paging her about.

Q    All right. Now, so you did not -- you and your husband, James, did not go over to the --

A    No.

Q    -- to the scene of the fire --

A    No.

Q    -- at Ted and Patricia's house? And when you saw Ronnie and Kim, do you remember what time that was, Judy?

A    After the fire? I mean, after they --

Q    Yes.

A    -- had been over to -- No. It was, I would say, probably between 10:00 and 10:30, but that's -- you know, because they said they were going to go up to South Elm


Street Baptist Church, and they wanted -- and I said -­because friends and family was going to meet up there, and I said, "Well, we'll go with you." And we -- in fact, we drove and they rode with us.

Q    Okay. Now, when you went up to the church, how long did you stay at the church?

A    2:00, 2:30 in the morning.

Q    And after that, what did you do?

A    Okay. We went back home, but we had to drive -- James drove Ted's Jeep, with Edna and Ted in it, because neither one of them were in the shape to drive. Kim drove Edna's car, and Ronnie was in it, along with their little dog, I believe was with them, but I'm not positive about that. And I drove our car, by myself.

Q    All right.

A    And then I went to the Kimbles', to pick up James --

Q    All right.

A    -- because they all drove to the Kimbles'.

Q    Now, directing your attention to January of 1997, did there come a time when you got a phone call from Kim when she was in Lynchburg, Virginia?

A    Uh-huh.

Q    And what were the circumstances of that?

A    She just called -- well, she just called to tell me that they were in Lynchburg and what they had done that day.


But anyway, she was just a rattling off, and I said, "Kim, Kim, hold on. I'm on the phone." I said, "Can I call you back?" Well, she said, "Who are you on the phone with?" But this is -- she always does me this way. I mean -- "Who are you talking to?" Anyway, I said, "I'm on the phone with Detective Church." I said, "Can I call you back?" I said, "No, call me back." Then I said, "You've used your calling card. Give me that number and let me call you back. I'll pay for it." And she said, "Okay." So she -- I heard her ask them the number, and she gave me the number.

And so, when I got off the phone with Detective Church, I called her back. And then she proceeded to tell me -­well, she wanted to know what Detective Church wanted, and I said, "Nothing new. He was just asking some of the same questions that I've been asked over and over." And I said, "So tell me about what you've been up to." So she was telling me about talking to Jerry -- them talking to Jerry Falwell, going to the university, and just basically what they'd been doing.

Q    Okay. And do you remember how long the phone conversation lasted?

A    Well, knowing us, probably 10 or 15 minutes.

Q    Okay. Have you had a chance, Judy, to review your phone bills for that period of time?

A    I got a copy of it.


Q    All right. And was that phone call that you made to Lynchburg to the Whiddens, was that reflected on your phone bill?

A    Uh-huh.

Q    All right.

MR. LLOYD: Your Honor, we would ask the Court's indulgence. Mr. Hatfield tells me his recollection is that we marked that exhibit, that is, her phone record, for identification.

THE COURT: All right. Do you want to take the morning break then?

MR. LLOYD: If we could, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You may step down, Ms. Stump. (The witness left the witness stand.)

THE COURT: Members of the jury, we'll take our morning recess. It'll be a 15-minute recess. Please remember the Court's instructions. At the end of the 15-minute period, please report to the jury room.

(The jury left the courtroom at 10:44 a.m.)

THE COURT: You may declare a 15-minute recess, sheriff.

(A recess was taken at 10:45 a.m.)

(Court reconvened at 11:00 o'clock a.m. The defendant was present. The jury was not present.)

(The witness returned to the witness stand.)


(The jury entered the courtroom at 11:01 a.m.)

THE COURT: You may continue, Mr. Lloyd.

MR. LLOYD: Thank you, Your Honor.


Q    Now, Mrs. Stump, I show you what's been marked as Defendant's Exhibit Number 6, and ask you if you recognize that.

A    That's a page of one of my telephone bills.

Q    All right. And does that billing statement reflect a phone call -- or the phone call that you made to Lynchburg, Virginia?

A    On January the 24th.

Q    All right. And what was the duration of that phone call, Mrs. Stump?

A    It says 16 minutes.

Q    And does that square with --

A    I --

Q    -- your memory of the call on the occasion?

A    That would sound right, because we don't ever talk -­when we -- when we talk, we don't ever talk just two or three minutes or five minutes.

MR. LLOYD: Your Honor, we would move the introduction of Defendant's Exhibit Number 6.

THE COURT: The Court'll allow the introduction of Defendant's Exhibit Number 6.


Q    Now, Judy, when you talked to Kim on that occasion, what did you talk about?

A    She was telling me when they had got to Lynchburg from Portsmouth, and that she didn't really know a whole lot about the sleeping disorder test, and that they had been over to the university, they had talked to Jerry Falwell, he had given Ronnie a book, he had signed it, that he had had prayer with them, and that they were going to go out to eat.

Q    And did Kim indicate the purpose of her calling you in the first place?

A    "Hey, we're here. We're okay. We've been here since late last night," and just to chitchat. I mean, that's -­it's nothing unusual for her to call me. I mean, when they were living in Swansboro, if she just had a question, she'd up and call me. I mean, it's nothing unusual for her to call me, just for -- to chitchat.

MR. LLOYD: That's all I have, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Mr. Panosh, any cross-examination?

MR. PANOSH: Yes. Thank you, Your Honor.


Q    Ma'am, did you know where Ronnie Kimble was prior to when he came to your house about 6:10 on October the 9th of 1995?

A    Well, my husband, when he got home, said he had been by Ronnie and Kim's trailer.


Q    But of your own knowledge, did you see him prior to 6:10?

A    No, sir, not on that particular day, huh-uh.

Q    You heard -- Well, let me ask you this. Did you hear Kimberly's testimony earlier today?

A    Yes, sir.

Q    Do you remember her relating to a time when Detective Church came to your work?

A    Yes. In fact, I think he came to my office a couple of times.

Q    Okay.

A    And one time, Kim was there.

Q    And drawing your attention to the one time when Kim was there, do you remember what the purpose of that was?

A    Well, he didn't even know Kim was there. I don't even think he recognized Kim. He started into my office, and then he noticed that there was someone else sitting at my boss's desk, and he just -- he hesitated. And I said, "Come on in." I said, "This is Kim." And I don't even think he recognized Kim. And he came in and sit down. And I guess just to ask, you know, questions about the thing with Patricia. But I couldn't tell you what he asked me that day.

Q    Would it seem right that he was there to pick up that $4.06 check?


A    Yeah, he did come, but I didn't know whether it was that particular time or another time, because he did come to my office twice.

Q    And he got that from Kimberly?

A    Yeah, he got -- uh-huh.

Q    So that would have been the time that Kimberly and you and he met at your office?

A    I don't know if it was that time or not, because, like I say, he came more than once. And I don't know if that was the day he picked up the check. Kim didn't even know he was coming -- I mean, or -- you know, she wasn't there just because she knew he was coming.

Q    In any event, how long did that conversation last?

A    I have no idea.

Q    Would you describe it as brief or extensive?

A    In between.

Q    You indicated that you were aware of Ronnie Kimble's tendency to fall asleep in the daytime?

A    Uh-huh.

Q    And you'd been aware of that for how long?

A    Probably ever since they'd been married.

Q    Did you know him in high school, when he was in high school?

A    Uh-huh.

Q    Did you know about his tendency to fall asleep back



A    Well, I just know that when he'd come to our house -­when he and Kim were dating and he'd come to our house on Sunday afternoon -- well, eat lunch with us on Sunday and they would just -- they didn't really go out that much, they just -- well, they'd stay at the house, watch TV, and he would fall asleep in the middle of the floor, living room floor. But I mean --

Q    That was prior --

A    Pardon?

Q    Go ahead.

A I was just going to say, he would just -- he'd take -­well, they'd both take naps, but he would -- it didn't take much, you know, for him to go to sleep.

Q    Was that prior to him going in the Marine Corps?

A    Oh, yes.

Q    So if he had any episodes of sleepwalking when he was young, you weren't aware of it?

A    No.

Q    And your daughter called you from Lynchburg in part to talk about the sleep -- the overnight sleep test?

A    She just called to check in -- I guess you'd say check in with me, because she had not talked to me since she had left.

Q    But she did tell you that they didn't know the results


at that point?

A    Right.

Q    There did come a time when they were aware of the results; is that right?

A    I guess.

Q    Did they discuss that with you?

A    Not really.

Q    Do you know what the results were --

A    No.

Q    -- of that sleep test of January of '97?

A    No.

Q    You said you came into contact with Ronnie Kimble on the night of Patricia's death about somewhere around 10:00 or 10:30 -- does that sound right -- p.m.?

A    The second time. That he was --

Q    Right.

A    -- at my house earlier.

Q    After they'd been to the fire; is that correct?

A    After they had been to the fire, it was somewhere around, I'd say, 10:00 -- between 10:00 and 10:30.

Q    What was Ronnie's demeanor when you were with him from 10:00 to 10:30, on into the early morning hours the next day?

A    Well, he and Kim both seemed real concerned over the fact that this had happened, and wondered why. They both --


well, he seemed upset, but no more than what I had seen him upset over tragic things in the past.

Q    And drawing your attention again to your telephone conversation with your daughter, did you indicate to your daughter that Detective Church was in any way bothering you or, I think her word was bugging you?

A    Well, when she called and I said, "I'm on the phone. Can I call you back?" And she said, "Who are you on the phone with?" And I said, "Detective Church." And she said, "What does he want?" And I said, "Kim, I'm on the phone. I'll call you back." And I said -- well, I said, "You call me back." Then I said, "No, let me call you back. I'll pay for it." And she gave me the telephone number. And when I called back and -- she asked me, she said, "What did Mr. -­Detective Church want?" And I said, "Nothing new. Just going over some stuff that we've been talking about." It was, you know, same old, same old.

Q    And did you indicate to her that he was bothering you?

A    I don't know that I actually used the word that he was bothering me that night. But I have said -- I had said to her, "I wish they would quit asking me -- or they'd quit talking to me about it over and over. I have told them everything I know. And I know nothing new. I feel like I'm just repeating the same thing over and over and over."

Q    But you didn't say it on that occasion?


A    I don't know whether I did or not.

Q    Of the 16 minutes that you spent on the phone, about how much time was devoted to the details of your conversation with Detective Church?

A    Probably two or three minutes. Not long. I was more interested in what they had done and what -- if they were having fun and --

MR. PANOSH: Thank you. No further.

MR. LLOYD: That's all I have, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You may step down, Ms. Stump. (The witness left the witness stand.)



Published August 15, 2006.  Report broken links or other problems.

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