Murder charges filed in two Northeast CT fatal assault cases

DANIELSON – Defendants in separate fatal May assault cases had their charges upgraded to murder within the last few weeks, according to Danielson Superior Court documents.

Matthew Candler, accused of beating a Chaplin man to death on May 1, and Alexander Neidhardt IV, charged in connection with the stabbing death of his father on May 24 in Killingly, were both initially charged by police with counts of first-degree assault pending the results of autopsies.

Prosecutors for the Windham Judicial District filed a substitute charge of murder in Neidhardt’s case on June 21 and did the same on July 15 in Candler’s case, according to the Danielson court’s criminal clerk’s office.

Candler, 46, of New London, is accused of fatally assaulting 51-year-old Jeffrey Rawson inside a Miller Road residence. When state police arrived at the crime scene, Rawson was found with cuts and bruises on his body.

A witness told police he saw Candler in the early morning hours of May 1 repeatedly punching Rawson in the face and later striking him with a lamp and cane, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Other witnesses recalled seeing a raging Rawson hurling furniture and making threats, the warrant states.

Matthew CandlerChaplin murder suspect, arrested in NH, once threatened to decapitate someone, police say

Police said they found indications of a “violent struggle” at the home, with pools of blood soaked into the living room floor and blood splatter flung onto walls and doors. Broken furniture littered the scene, much of it smeared with blood, police said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Tuesday said Rawson, an avid music lover and fisherman described as a “general fix-it-all-guy” in his obituary, died of blunt impact injuries to his head and deemed the manner of death a homicide.

Candler, who is due back in Danielson court on Aug. 2, has not yet pleaded to the murder charge. He has several unrelated pending cases in the Norwich and Rockville judicial districts on counts of second-degree threatening, disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment, according to the state’s judicial website.

Candler is being held at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield on a $ 1.5 million bond.

Alexander Neidhardt IVKillingly man charged in connection with Whetstone Mills condo death

Neidhardt, of 108 Whetstone Mills Valley Road, is accused of killing his 72-year-old father, Alexander Neidhardt, a Sturbridge, Massachusetts resident who operated a dental practice in that town for 35 years and also served as a church deacon, according to his obituary.

Neidhardt’s body was found by state police wrapped in a sheet inside a cart in his son’s Dayville condo, according to a state police investigation report.

Neidhart, who witnesses said was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder and had a tendency to lash out, allegedly told police his actions were the result of a “justifiable homicide,” the report states.

“I was going to call you guys … I’m sorry about this, I had to do something,” Neidhardt told police at the scene, according to the report.

The victim died of stab wounds to his head and neck, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled a homicide.

Neidhardt, who has not pleaded to the murder charge, is being held on a $ 750,000 bond at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. He is due next in court on Aug. 12.

John Penney can be reached at [email protected] or at (860) 857-6965.

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