Poconos Coal

Monroe County man to face trial for woman's death in 2011

Monroe County man to face trial for woman's death in 2011

Silence from James Bidwell Friday as he was led into a Monroe County courtroom.

Bidwell is charged with murdering Kristen Wagner.

Originally Wagner's death was ruled a suicide in 2011. Wagner was found in a refrigeration trailer with an electrical wire around her neck at a scrap yard owned by Bidwell in Stroud Township.

Prosecutors called two witnesses during Friday's preliminary hearing and presented six pieces of evidence.

"We will not rely on any single piece of evidence to make the case. It's going to be physical evidence, it's going to be cell phone records, it's going to be forensic evidence, it's going to be witness statements," said Michael Mancuso, Monroe County First Assistant District Attorney.

One of those witnesses, will be a man who knew James Bidwell while they were in jail together according to the prosecution. A detective testified the witness told police Bidwell confessed to strangling Wagner and putting her body in the trailer to make it look like she committed suicide.

"My client vehemently denies these accusations and he looks forward to his day in court. He maintains his innocence of these charges," said Brian McMonagle, Bidwell's attorney.

The detective further testified Bidwell and Wagner were having an affair and Bidwell allegedly murdered Wagner because his wife was pregnant, and Bidwell was afraid Wagner would talk about the relationship.

The defense says the testimony was hearsay but a judge allowed it.

Bidwell was charged following a grand jury investigation this year and Friday a judge ruled there is enough evidence to go to trial.

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