A 22-year-old Takoma Park man pleaded guilty in Prince George's County Circuit Court yesterday to the sledge hammer slaying of a Beltsville man last June, a county state's attorney spokesman said.
Francis Eugene Smith, of 676 Houston Ave., pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the June 24 death of 34-year-old Donald L. Cumberledge, of 11345 Evans Trail.
Smith was charged in connection with the death along with Cumberledge's widow and three other individuals. The slaying took place in Cumberledge's apartment, the county state's attorney spokesman said.
According to Leonard Casalino, the assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case, Cumberledge's widow, Nancy Ann Cumberledge's widow, arranged to have her husband beaten by four men - including Smith - after she fought with her husband.
On the evening of June 24th, Smith came into the Cumberledge apartment and began talking to Cumberledge while his wife hid a a bedroom, Casalino said.
A patio door was left open and two of the three other attackers entered and "jumped" Cumberledge. The prosecutor said the two individuals left the apartment after Cumberledge put a strong fight.
At that point, Casalino said, Smith used a oriental weapon designed for throwing - called Kung Fu stars - to incapacitate Cumberledge, then hit Cumberledge in the head with a five poind sledge hammer.
Casalino said Smith had told the other men they would "receive sex" as payment for beating Cumberledge.
Cumberledge's widow was found found guilty in Prince George's Circuit Court last January of conspiracy to commit murder.
According to the state's attorney's office, David B. Dennison Jr., 22, of 3962 Belpre Rd., Silver Spring, and Randy A. Goddard, 21, of 676 Houston Ave., Takoma Park, pleaded guilty of being accessories after the fact and will be sentenced in the next two months.
Irvin Curtis Welcher, 19, of 3962 Belpre Rd., Silver Spring, who did not enter the Cumberledge home and later aided the investigation, according to the prosecutor's office, will stand trial June 17 on a charge of being an accessory after the fact.
Smith is scheduled to be sentenced June 17, and Mrs. Cumberledge June 20.