One Dead, One Charged After Violent Argument Outside Diner

Edward Charles Chandler (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

LACEY – An argument turned violent outside a popular diner in the township. Now, one man is dead and another has been charged with assault and manslaughter charges.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office confirms that 54-year-old Edward Chandler of Manalapan has been charged with Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Manslaughter in connection with the death of 78-year-old Robert Clarke of Whiting.

Lacey Township Police responded to a 911 call around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night about an unresponsive man at the Lakeside Diner on Lacey Road.

According to police, an argument first arose inside the diner between members of a motorcycle club. The owner of the diner asked everyone involved to leave, but afterwards a second argument developed in the parking lot.

The argument turned physical when Edward Chandler, 54, of Manalapan punched Robert Clarke, 78, of Whiting causing him to fall, resulting in severe head injuries.

When police arrived at the scene, Clarke was found unconscious and bleeding from the head. First responders worked quickly and Clarke was immediately airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center. At roughly 1:30 a.m., it was reported that Clarke passed away at the hospital.

Chandler was arrested and remains at the Ocean County Jail.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said “A post-mortem examination of Mr. Clarke was conducted this afternoon by the Ocean County Medical Examiner. The Medical Examiner determined the cause of the victim’s death to be closed head injury secondary to a fall, and the manner of death to be homicide. Based upon the Medical Examiner’s findings and information developed in furtherance of the continuing investigation, Chandler has been identified as the individual responsible for Mr. Clarke’s death, and has now been charged accordingly,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office for their collective assistance in connection with this investigation, which has resulted in Chandler being apprehended and appropriately charged.

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.