A 15-year-old youth who disappeared in woods near Woodbridge Saturday had apparently been tortured with an electrical stun gun before he was shot to death, according to police sources and court records.
An autopsy on Alexander Eugene Sztanko, who just completed the ninth grade at Potomac High School, determined that he died of a gunshot wound in the head, said Prince William County police spokeswoman Kim D. Chinn.
Court records revealed that Sztanko had also suffered wounds to his thighs and scrotum, "consistent in nature with that of the electrodes on the stun gun recovered" from suspect Michael Carl George's Ford Bronco.
George, 32, of Hartwood, Va., in Stafford County, has been charged with murder. Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case. George's attorney, Don Coulter, had no comment.
The Sztanko youth disappeared Saturday after he left on a motorized bike from his family's former home on Cardinal Drive to join friends to go dirt bike riding.
George, who is being held without bail, was initially arrested on trespassing charges after a county police officer noticed his car parked in the area being searched on Sunday.
Police sources said yesterday that blood was found on the pants and shoes George was wearing when he was arrested.
Sztanko's body, with the shirt and shoes removed, was found Sunday in an area known as "the power lines," a cleared utility right-of-way that is often a playground used by children on bicycles and motorbikes. According to court records, George had frequented the area for at least 10 years to go hiking, hunting, target shooting and riding dirt bikes.
The area is less than two miles from where police believe George may have buried the body of 9-year-old Larry W. Perry of Dumfries in 1979. George served 2 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty in 1984 to involuntary manslaughter in connection with Perry's death. He told police the boy had accidentally shot himself with George's gun after the two went into the woods off Dumfries Road near Interstate 95 in southeast Prince William County.
In a search of George's vehicle in connection with Sztanko's death, police found a stun gun, a large hacksaw, a machete, a large pair of bolt cutters, a tear gas canister, black leather gloves and other items, court records show.
A search of George's home in Stafford County yielded several safes full of personal papers and computer programs as well as a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and numerous boxes of bullets.
Police said yesterday the green Kawasaki motorized dirt bike Sztanko was riding when he left home Saturday was found Monday. The youth's helmet still has not been found, said Chinn. However, two shirts police believe Sztanko was wearing and a pair of black and white tennis shoes also have been recovered, police said.
In the Perry case, George was arrested and charged with murder, abduction and failing to provide medical care several years after the young boy disappeared on May 22, 1979. George, who grew up in Prince William and was acquainted with Perry's family, was questioned the day after Perry's disappearance when the child's uncle told police he had last seen the boy running behind George's late-model Ford Bronco.
Prosecutors accepted George's guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter in February 1984 after they determined that a murder conviction would be unlikely because the body was never found, said Ebert.
Ebert said he may seek to have George returned to prison to serve a 10-year sentence that was suspended on the abduction charge because it was granted conditional to George's staying out of trouble.
In court records of the Perry case, Prince William County Sheriff Wilson Garrison, then one of the investigators, characterized George as a strange man who was known to associate mainly with young boys. Court records show that George told police he had never seriously dated women.
Garrison said yesterday sources told police that after the Perry boy's death, George had become religious and he told police in an interview that he read the Bible often, sometimes 15 to 20 minutes a day. The search of his vehicle Sunday by Prince William investigators turned up two Bibles, according to court records.
George, a former $20,000-a-year civilian computer operator at Quantico Marine Base, was described yesterday by Ebert as "very meticulous" and "intelligent."
George, who ranked 109th out of 555 students in his Gar-Field High School graduating class in Woodbridge in 1976, graduated from a computer technical school with a 98 percent grade average in 1982. He was working as a computer operator in Oklahoma City when he was arrested in the Perry case.
Quantico Marine Base spokesman Bob McLean said George had been employed there since December 1987. Base officials said they were unaware of his criminal record.
In 1978 George served 10 days in jail on a petty theft conviction for stealing a calculator from a local Radio Shack store.
Staff writer Claudia Sandlin contributed to this report.