BRIDGETON — The Cumberland County man accused of stabbing to death his estranged wife in front of their 12-year-old son in December pleaded not guilty Friday in court, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said.
Jeremiah Monell, 32, of Lawrence Township, appeared in court Friday before Superior Court Judge Cristen D’Arrigo, court personnel said. He was indicted in March on charges of murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, contempt and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes in the death of Tara O’Shea-Watson, 35, of Commercial Township.
Public defender Lindsey Seidel is representing Monell.
Friends said O’Shea-Watson was a longtime victim of domestic violence at the hands of Monell. The mother of five, who lived with two of her children, reportedly had decided to fully enforce court-issued restraining orders against Monell when she was killed. She was found after her son ran to a neighbor’s house.
After the killing, police began a nationwide manhunt for Monell that ended Jan. 3 when he was arrested in Folsom, Atlantic County.
Monell rejected a plea bargain before his indictment that called for a 30-year state prison term.
Monell’s next scheduled appearance in court is June 9.