2 charged with Stillwater murder

2 charged with Stillwater murder

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Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - Clark Fredericks, of Newton, enters the State Superior Courtroom of Judge N. Peter Conforti in Newton Thursday, June 14, 2012. Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - Clark Fredericks, of Newton, enters the State Superior Courtroom of Judge N. Peter Conforti in Newton Thursday, June 14, 2012.
Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - Robert Reynolds, of Hackettstown, listens as Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller, not shown, speaks during the Reynold's first appearance in State Superior Court in Newton Thursday, June 14. Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - Robert Reynolds, of Hackettstown, listens as Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller, not shown, speaks during the Reynold's first appearance in State Superior Court in Newton Thursday, June 14.
Submitted Photo - Dennis Pegg Submitted Photo - Dennis Pegg
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By STEVEN REILLY and LYNDSAY CAYETANA BOUCHAL

newsroom@njherald.com

STILLWATER — It is an open and shut case, according to prosecutors. Two men went to the home of a Stillwater resident and stabbed him repeatedly with two knives, then left him for dead.

But why they did it is still a mystery.

Clark T. Fredericks, 47, of Fredon, and Robert A. Reynolds, 47, of Hackettstown, allegedly killed Stillwater resident Dennis Pegg, 68, in his Millbrook Road home on Tuesday.

There was no sign of a burglary attempt gone awry, and no prior interaction between the suspects and victim has been made public.

According to Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Greg Mueller, based on the evidence and statements of the two suspects, there is little question of who killed Pegg.

But why they did it is still under investigation.

"This is not a who-done-it case," Mueller said. "This is the type of case where the why-did-they-do-it is in question."

The motive for the killing and any link between Pegg and the two suspects is still under investigation by law enforcement officials.

According to court documents and testimony, Fredericks and Reynolds went to Pegg's home in Stillwater sometime Tuesday. There the two allegedly attacked Pegg with knives.

Fredericks allegedly cut the victim's throat and stabbed him 20 times in the chest. Reynolds is believed to have stabbed Pegg a number of times during the attack as well with a second knife.

The pair then allegedly fled the scene in a vehicle driven by Reynolds.

According to Mueller, when Fredericks returned to his home in Fredon, where he lived with his parents, his mother noticed he was covered in blood and feared that he may have killed Pegg.

"Fredericks' mother contacted a counselor they knew and told her that her son came home covered in blood," Mueller said. "She feared he may have killed Pegg, so she called the State Police and asked them to do a well-being check on him."

At about noon Wednesday, the State Police received the call and sent troopers to investigate. When troopers arrived at Pegg's home on Millbrook Road in Stillwater, they found him dead.

Troopers then went to the Fredon home of Fredericks and took him into custody. Troopers also went to the Hackettstown home of Reynolds, where they allegedly found the two knives and bloody clothing in a vehicle driven by Reynolds.

Both Fredericks and Reynolds were formally charged with murder in the first degree Thursday in state Superior Court in Newton. Both men are being held in the Sussex County jail on $350,000 bail each with no 10 percent option.

A young woman at Fredericks' Fredon home declined to comment on the charges Thursday and said the family is going through a very hard time at the moment.

Pegg was a retired Sussex County corrections officer who worked under former Sheriff Robert Untig.

"He was a good guy, a straight shooter," Untig said Thursday.

Untig said Pegg began working at the jail in 1977 and retired in the 1990s as the lieutenant in charge of training.

"He always tried to do the right thing as far as his job goes, and that's why he did the training. He was so thorough," Untig said. "He did an excellent job."

Untig described Pegg as "caring and always positive."

"He was a genuine, good guy," Untig said. "He always tried to help people out ... talking to the inmates, encouraging them ... to start a new life, steer them in the right direction."

Pegg was also an active member of the Sussex County community. He was a history buff, who shared his love of the county and his hometown as president of the Sussex County Historical Society and recording secretary of the Historical Society of Stillwater Township. Pegg previously served in various capacities for the township's historical society, including president and vice president.

"He was very proud of his little town," said friend and current president of the Stillwater Historical Society Bob Grabowsky.

Grabowsky said Pegg could be found every Sunday during the summer sitting at the Stillwater Museum, eager to give tours. Pegg was one of the organization's longest sitting members, Grabowsky said.

"Dennis was one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet," he said. "I was constantly amazed at how many people's lives he's touched and cared for. The guy's an amazing man."

Grabowsky, nearly at a loss for words, said he was "completely shocked" to hear of Pegg's murder.

"It makes absolutely no sense," he said.

Linda Rienecker, corresponding secretary for the Sussex County Historical Society, said she was dumbfounded when she received the call from a fellow society member about 10 p.m. Wednesday informing her of Pegg's death.

"We are all pretty much in shock and trying to make sense of it," she said.

Pegg was in his second year as president of the county historical society and had set several goals, one which was to have the historical society museum open to the public more often, she said.

"He was forging ahead with all these changes," she said, noting Pegg often would be at the museum for hours.

Saturday was a second Saturday of the month, when the museum is open to the public. Rienecker said she, Pegg and several other historical society members were at the museum during its open hours. Pegg bought pizza for the group afterward, she said.

Pegg was also a self-proclaimed outdoors enthusiast; he enjoyed hunting, hiking and later, by natural extension, birding. In the mid-1950s, Pegg's interest in birds blossomed, and he became one of the founding members of the Sussex County Bird Club, Grabowsky said.

"Birding was a real passion of his," he said.

While Pegg no longer owned any domestic pets, Grabowsky said, "pets were literally the wildlife that would come to his house every day."

Grabowsky said his friend was a "reliable food source" for the birds, deer and woodland critters that frequented his home. Through a bond Pegg and the deer developed over time, he was able to pet and groom them, Grabowsky said.

"It was astonishing to see it," Grabowsky said.

Grabowsky joked, "I'd call him Dr. Doolittle.

Pegg was a 1962 graduate of Newton High School graduate and a Vietnam veteran. There are no funeral arrangements yet for Pegg. As of Thursday afternoon, his body was still with the Morris County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy procedures.

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