A northern New Jersey man who allegedly attacked his father with a hammer last month will now face murder charges after the elderly man died from his injuries.

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Essex County prosecutors announced the upgraded charge against 46-year-old John Mekeel Jr. of Essex Fells on Monday. His bail was set at $350,000.

Mekeel initially faced aggravated assault and weapons charges stemming from the June 30 attack. But the upgrade occurred after his father, also named John Mekeel, died Sunday.

Authorities have said John Mekeel Jr. was on the lawn holding a knife to his throat when police arrived. After officers talked him out of harming himself, Mekeel said his 69-year-old father needed help inside the house.

Officers found the elder John Mekeel on the kitchen floor with severe head trauma.


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