CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The man charged with strangling an Ocean City woman in July 2017 has one last court date before the case is settled or goes to trial.
Paul Kline, 50, of Ocean City, charged with murdering 54-year-old Denise Tarves Webber, appeared for a pretrial conference Thursday morning before Superior Court Judge Sarah Beth Johnson. His last pretrial conference is set for Dec. 20.
Kline’s defense attorney, John Tumelty, asked for another court date so he could get a forensic expert’s report “dealing with and correlating the physical injuries on her neck area, the victim’s neck area, with the duration of the force that was used.”
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In order to move forward, Assistant Prosecutor Saverio Carroccia said he would need to read the report, research and meet with the victim’s family again.
“This directly affects whether or not a jury could conclude it may be manslaughter or agg-man or murder, and I can’t do that without reading the report,” Carroccia said, adding it’s an expert he believes the Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t dealt with before.
Johnson decided to schedule one final court date.
“If there’s no resolution by that date, then it’s going on the trial list,” she said. “Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, I’m not going to entertain any further extension of the pretrial conference in this matter.”
Two of Tarves Webber’s family members present at the conference declined to comment outside the courtroom.
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Ocean City police responded to the apartment Kline and Tarves Webber shared at the Wesley Inn on Wesley Avenue about 8:40 a.m. July 22, 2017, and found her body.
Kline also called police and told them about Tarves Webber’s “current condition” and returned to the apartment, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
While there, “he made utterances to several witnesses indicating his involvement with Webber’s death,” according to the document, and additional witness interviews revealed that “Kline admitted to having an argument with Webber and strangled her, causing her death.”
If Kline’s case goes to trial and he is convicted, he could face a sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
He is being held in the Cape May County jail.