Manslaughter charge for man accused of fatal punch at Lacey diner
LACEY — A Monmouth County man is accused of causing another man's death, after punching the 78-year-old who then fell to the pavement outside a township restaurant and died from his injuries, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
Edward Chandler, 54, of Manalapan, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter in connection with the death of 78-year-old Robert Clarke, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said.
Chandler and Clarke were outside the Lakeside Diner Wednesday night around 7:30 p.m., after an argument broke out inside the diner in the Forked River section between members of a motorcycle club, the prosecutor said.
The owner of the diner, Brian Brindisi, asked everyone involved in the fight to leave and a second argument involving the same people arose in the parking lot, Billhimer said.
The prosecutor said that is when Chandler punched Clarke, sending him to the ground.
Lacey Township Police responded to a 911 call and found the Manchester man unconscious and bleeding from the head.
Clark was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center, where he died at 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
Chandler had been initially charged with aggravated assault. Billhimer said the additional charge was a result of the Ocean County Medical Examiner confirming the manner of Clarke's death to be homicide.
Chandler was arrested and taken to Ocean County Jail, where he was pending a detention hearing.
Brindisi said that after being at the diner until 2 a.m., he woke up Thursday morning to the news.
"It was just so senseless. This thing was just so senseless and so fast it happened. Two families' lives are just completely changed," Brindisi said. "My heart goes out to his family."