Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Edward Chandler, 54, of Manalapan, was charged with Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1) relative to an incident which occurred outside the Lakeside Diner in Lacey Township during the evening hours of September 30, 2020.

On September 30, 2020, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Lacey Township Police received a 911 call in reference to a male who was reported to be unresponsive at the Lakeside Diner on Lacey Road.  Responding Officers found Robert Clarke, 78, of Whiting, unconscious and bleeding from an apparent head wound.  Clarke was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center.  Clarke succumbed at approximately 1:30 a.m. and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that an argument had taken place inside the diner between members of a motorcycle club.  The owner of the diner asked everyone involved in the altercation to leave the premises.  A second argument involving the same parties arose in the parking lot of the diner.  During this argument, Chandler struck Mr. Clarke with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground resulting in severe head trauma.  Chandler was taken into custody and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

“This is an active and ongoing investigation.  We are continuing to interview potential witnesses, and are awaiting the results of Mr. Clarke’s post-mortem examination by the Ocean County Medical Examiner.  I fully expect that additional charges will be forthcoming,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.