Eric Frein in Custody

Man Charged with Strangling Friend

TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP — A man from New Jersey is locked up Tuesday night after being charged with strangling his friend in the Poconos last year.

Police say the crime took place last July inside a home in the Lake Naomi housing development near Mount Pocono.

Police say Charles Derr and his friend, Matthew Stilwell, were vacationing at the home for a week in July of last year.

One night the two were drinking heavily when an argument broke out. That argument eventually turned into the two wrestling each other.

“It’s a shocker, that’s for sure,” said Jim Stine of Lake Naomi.

Stine moved to Lake Naomi about a year ago and lives near the home where police say the crime took place.  He says for the most part, the community gets along very well.

“It’s very nice, people are extremely friendly,” said Stine.

According to court papers, police say Derr admitted to police that he used a martial arts choke hold on his friend, inside the home in Lake Naomi. Derr then told police that he used that choke hold until his friend of about 20 years went limp.

Police say Derr thought his friend was sleeping because he heard a snoring sound, but when Derr woke up the next morning, he noticed his friend of about 20 years was dead.

Police say it took a year to investigate because they needed more medical testing to determine the death was homicide.

Charles Derr charged with criminal homicide and locked up in the Monroe County Prison.

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