In the hours that followed, Mikey was returned unharmed, and the 1976 Plymouth was recovered. Hope Stauffer's body was found in a lot about 13 blocks away.
Yesterday, a Camden County jury was convened to determine whether Lawrence Bell, 16, of the 900 block Haddon Avenue, Camden, is guilty of murder, kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and weapons charges. Bell has said he is innocent.
Bell and a companion, James Jones, were in the Rosedale's parking lot when the Stauffers' car pulled in that night and "they planned to rob her," Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Michael Chewkanes told the jury in his opening statement. He said Bell and Jones abducted the woman at gunpoint and drove to the lot, where they raped and killed her.
"Both had their hands around her neck," Chewkanes said. "The medical examiner won't be able to tell you . . . which stranglehold put an end to her life, but (Bell) played a role in all the events of that night."
Jones, 21, of Leonard Street, Camden, has been charged with capital murder in Stauffer's death. He said in an interview last year that he did not commit the crime. His trial is expected to begin in the fall. Jones is serving a 50- year sentence for five crimes committed in Camden during June 1990, among them the armed robbery of a priest in the rectory of St. Joseph's Church.
Bell was only 14 in June 1990, said his attorney, Jay Blumberg.
"What happened to Hope Stauffer is not in dispute," Blumberg said. "It was sad, it was tragic. It was wrong." But the state must present indisputable evidence that Stauffer died at Bell's hands.
Now, Blumberg told the jury, "You have to put your emotion and your anger aside and listen to the evidence."
Timothy Stauffer, Hope's brother, tesified that before entering the Rosedale, he saw a pickup in the parking lot. But the three men in the truck were white, Stauffer told police, and Bell is not.