Allentown
77° F
Overcast
Overcast

Police: Charles Derr used "rear naked choke hold" to kill long-time friend, Matthew Stilwell

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 10 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2013 12:19:20 PM CDT

It was supposed to be a pleasant evening: two friends, hanging out in the Poconos.

TOBYHANNA TWP., Pa. -

It was supposed to be a pleasant evening: two friends, hanging out in the Poconos.

But there was a fight and one man wound up dead.

Now, a year later, his friend is charged with killing him.

Police say it took a year to file charges because they were waiting for additional medical reports.

Once the death was ruled strangulation, investigators went looking for Charles Derr.

Investigators say the homicide took place at a home located in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County.

Charles Derr, from East Hanover, N.J., owns the vacation home and was spending time with his friend of 20 years, Matthew Stilwell on July 8, 2012.

"They drank a lot, they got into an argument, turned physical, became violent," said Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis.

Police say at first Charles Derr, 53, cooperated during the investigation.

"He wasn't completely honest with the facts. He did admit choking and all those things," said Lewis.

After an independent medical review of the case the cause of death was attributed to what's known as a "rear naked choke hold." The manner of death was ruled a homicide. Charles Derr turned himself in.

"Because he was charged with an open count of criminal homicide there is no bail. It's a non-bailable offense in Pennsylvania," said Lewis.

The affidavit of probable cause shows Charles Derr sent text messages to his daughter about the fight.