A popular sportscaster has acknowledged sending roses to a woman he corresponded with over the Internet shortly before she was murdered, allegedly by her husband in a fit of jealousy over the gift.
“I sensed loneliness, I sensed despair. All I was trying to do was brighten her day,” Howard Eskin, WIP-AM radio sports talk show host and WCAU-TV sports anchor, said Wednesday. He discussed the incident on his radio program and in television interviews.
Marlene Stumpf was found two weeks ago stabbed to death in her home in suburban Pottstown, Pa. Her husband, Raymond, was also found in the home bleeding from stab wounds.
Raymond Stumpf, host of a low-priced home shopping show on a local cable television channel, was treated at a hospital and charged with first-degree murder. Investigators believe he flew into a jealous rage when his wife received the roses.
Eskin said he had exchanged about a half-dozen e-mail messages with the woman and had received electronic “instant messages” over the course of about four weeks through America Online, where he hosts a sports chat program.
He said the relationship was not romantic but the woman’s letters were sometimes “provocative,” and he sensed that she was troubled and offered to send her a gift that would be ". . . something positive in her day, in her life.”
“What’s important here is that there’s a life that’s been lost,” he said. “The police told me there have been many other people that have communicated with this woman on the Internet. It just so happens that I have the most recognizable name.”