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Man gets more time to mull plea in estranged wife’s slaying

October 6, 2018

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — A man accused of killing his estranged wife and evading police for two weeks will have another week to decide whether to accept a plea deal or go to trial.

A pretrial hearing was slated Friday in Cumberland County to set a trial date for Jeremiah Monell, 33, in the stabbing death of Tara O’Shea. NJ.com reports that public defender Nathan Perry asked for additional time to allow his client to consider his options.

O’Shea, 35, was killed in December 2016 in her Commercial Township home. Prosecutors say the couple’s 12-year-old son witnessed the stabbing. Police sought Monell for two weeks before finding him hiding out in a wooded area in Atlantic County.

Monell could face a mandatory life term if convicted. Prosecutors have offered to allow an open plea, letting a judge determine a sentence of between 30 years and life. The defense is seeking an 18-year term.

Assistant Prosecutor Charles Wettstein said the slaying was committed under “unwontedly vile and very violent” conditions and accused the defense of negotiating in bad faith, a charge to which Perry objected, saying he only wanted to be sure his client understands whatever decision he makes.

“I want to err on the side of caution,” Perry told the judge. “I want him to make a decision with eyes wide open. I need a little more time to do that.”

Superior Court Judge Cristen D’Arrigo said he would give Monell another week “but there will not be one more day past a week.”

He said he has allotted time in late November or early December for a trial “so this case is going to go either on the trial list or resolve next Friday.”

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Information from: NJ.com, http://www.nj.com

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