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Former pro boxer Exum Speight arrested in 1987 slaying of manager

LAPD cold case detectives say DNA links Speight to the murder of Douglas Stumler, who was found dead in his West L.A. apartment in March 1987.

September 25, 2013|By Kate Mather

A former professional boxer was arrested in the 1987 slaying of his manager, Los Angeles police said.

An LAPD-FBI fugitive task force took Exum Speight, 50, into custody at his San Fernando home Wednesday, a day after an arrest warrant charging him with murder was filed, police said.

Cold case detectives said DNA ultimately linked Speight to the slaying of Douglas Stumler, a 30-year-old Los Angeles County Housing Authority employee found dead inside his West L.A. apartment. Stumler had a side job as a boxing manager and worked with Speight, even living with him at some point during the mid-1980s, LAPD Det. Rick Jackson said.

Stumler spent March 29, 1987, with a friend and returned to his apartment alone, Jackson said. The friend called later that Sunday night, but Stumler didn't answer the phone.

Red flags were raised when Stumler — a sports fan and Indiana native — didn't meet with friends the next day to watch his Hoosiers win the NCAA basketball championship, Jackson said. When he didn't show up for work Tuesday, his friends grew more concerned.

A friend then went to Stumler's apartment with the building manager and found his body inside.

Jackson said there was evidence of a "pretty violent struggle" across the apartment. There were "multiple causes of death," he said, including strangulation and stab wounds.

"It was not a quick thing," he said.

Speight was initially identified as a potential suspect because the boxer and his manager had a "bit of an issue" years before over stolen property, Jackson said. But the connections were circumstantial: "They didn't have the forensics we now have."

It wasn't until 2010 that the LAPD cold case unit was able to reexamine evidence from the investigation, Jackson said. Two years later, the detectives got a hit: DNA collected from Stumler's body matched Speight, he said.

Detectives tracked down witnesses, including some out of state, and began piecing their case together. After a new DNA sample from Speight again matched the evidence from the crime scene, Jackson said, detectives presented their case to prosecutors and the warrant was filed.

Speight, perhaps best known for losing a 1996 bout with current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, recently worked as a security guard at a Venice Beach marijuana clinic, Jackson said. He was arrested without incident and held on more than $1-million bail.

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