Slain nurse received warnings about man; Ex-boyfriend, shot by police after killing her, had criminal past


Roxanne Marie Schuncke was a compassionate nurse and a warm-hearted mother whose relationship with former boyfriend William Jack Stewart was certain to end badly, her friends often told her.

Saturday night, it did.

Baltimore County police said Stewart, 43, who had a long history of trouble with the law, forced his way into the red-brick rowhouse in the 7400 block of Manchester Road where he and Schuncke had previously lived together.

He stabbed her to death as she screamed and pleaded with him and neighbors called police.

Minutes later, Sgt. Donald Smith and Officer Michael Mertz shot Stewart an undisclosed number of times after he threatened them with the knife, said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman. Stewart was pronounced dead at the scene.

Schuncke's relatives were reluctant to talk yesterday about the stormy relationship between the two. They preferred to remember the good times in Schuncke's life.

"She was the best daughter a father could ever have," her father, Martin Schuncke of Dundalk, said yesterday. "Her demeanor was so sweet."

Roxanne Schuncke, 38, had worked for many years as a registered nurse at Maryland General Hospital after graduating from the hospital's nursing school, officials there said yesterday.

Teresa Oros, a registered nurse and assistant clinical manager of the hospital's emergency room, said Schuncke specialized in critical care, working in the intensive care unit and emergency room.

Schuncke recently transferred to a day job in radiology, so she could spend more time with her 5-year-old daughter, Oros said. Police said the girl was staying with her father when the stabbing occurred.

"Roxanne was an excellent nurse," Oros said. "She was very much a patient advocate. I said to the staff many times, if I was ill, she was the type of nurse I would want taking care of me."

Martin Schuncke said his daughter graduated from Patapsco High School in Dundalk and attended then-Dundalk Community College before becoming a nurse. She excelled in athletics and won a most valuable player award in a local softball league as a right fielder, he said.

Stewart had a different kind of past -- one that found him in court frequently.

Three weeks ago, he was arrested and charged with possession of drugs and paraphernalia. At the time, he was on a year's probation after being convicted of theft from a Hechinger store, court records show.

Stewart's previous convictions include concealing a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and battery, records show. He was charged in 1996 with violating a protective order taken out against him by another woman, but the charge was dropped.

Two years before that, Stewart was charged with attempted rape, sex offenses and burglary, but those charges were dismissed, records show.

Court records do not indicate that Schuncke had a protective order against Stewart, but neighbors said domestic quarrels had occurred between them. Friends said their relationship, which lasted more than a year, ended several months ago.

Neighbors said Stewart sometimes worked as an ironworker. His family could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Several of Schuncke's friends, including Aaron Ambrosier and Ronda Albrecht of Evergreen, Colo., were concerned about the relationship.

"When she started dating [Stewart], I knew he was not a good choice," said Albrecht, who knew Schuncke for 20 years. "Roxanne was a wonderful, wonderful person. This is really devastating to a lot of people."

Said Ambrosier: "We couldn't do anything to get her away from him. She was a great, great lady."

Pub Date: 10/11/99

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