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New Jersey man charged with murder in Monroe

Published June 12. 2013 05:04PM

A New Jersey resident has been charged with criminal homicide for the murder of a friend at a Monroe County home.

Pocono Mountain Regional police arrested Charles Derr, 52, of 18 Maple Ave., East Hanover, on Tuesday and charged him in connection with the death of Matthew Stilwell, 53, of Richboro, Bucks County.

Police said the incident occurred on July 9, 2012, at 5338 Woodland Drive, in Tobyhanna Township.

According to police Derr and Stilwell were longtime friends and staying at the township residence, which is a vacation residence owned by the Derr family. Police were called to the home on July 9 for a report of a death.

Police said through the course of the investigation police learned that the two men were heavily drinking at the time and a verbal argument turned physical.

The two began to wrestle. Derr admitted to police the confrontation ended when he applied a "rear naked choke hold" on Stilwell. Derr told police Stilwell's body went limp, however, he only believed the victim was sleeping,

When Derr noticed Stilwell unresponsive the next day he called 9-1-1.

Police said an autopsy revealed evidence of strangulation but additional forensic and medical testing was required. Once the additional testing was completed, the cause of death was determined that Stilwell died from strangulation due to a choke hold. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Derr was arraigned before District Judge Richard Claypool, of Pocono Pines, and committed to the county prison in Snydersville. No bail was set because of the criminal homicide charge.

A preliminary hearing is tentatively set for June 18 at noon before Claypool.

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