PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Two men were charged with murder Monday in the alleged beating death of another man.
Officers responded around 1:30 Monday morning for the report of an unconscious man lying on the ground on Pear Alley in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
"On arrival, police found the victim, Scott Patronick, laying face down in a pool of blood," said Chief Edward Mirenda, Phillipsburg Police Department.
Patronick, 47, was found to be suffering from severe head injuries. He was rushed to Warren Hospital, but police said he died a short time later.
"It scared me when I heard what happened," said neighbor Andrea Philhower. "I woke up this morning saw all the cars. I didn't know what happened."
The two suspects, Joshua Dalrymple, 27, and Nicholas Yerian, 24, both of Phillipsburg, were charged with murder and committed to the Warren County Correctional Facility on $1 million bail.
Police said the three men had been inside the Hilltop Cafe across the street. The owner said they weren't fighting inside.
The investigation includes the possibility of it being hate crime.
"Since he was probably a homosexual, we do leave open as part of the motive," said Mirenda.
Police said Yerian made the initial call to police. He and Dalrymple were questioned and picked up at Yerian's apartment on Hudson Street, just yards away from the scene.
"It's scary," said Allen Amey, whose son attends school nearby. "It's a scary thought that my son is literally 10 to 15 yards away."
The school sent out a letter informing parents of the situation.
Police said video recorded by surveillance cameras at the bar, the Freeman School, and a nearby convenience store is helping their investigation.
Prosecutors said the suspects face a sentence of 30 years to life in prison if they are convicted.
New Jersey's overall crime rate in 2015 decreased by 5 percent compared to 2014, but there was a sharp rise in reported sex crimes.Read More »
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