60-year-old woman beats landlord to death with shower rod and tape dispenser

TOMS RIVER, NJ – A 60-year-old New Jersey woman has agreed to serve time in prison after confessing to the aggravated manslaughter of her landlord, utilizing a series of ordinary household items in the attack. Mary Carbone entered her guilty plea on Monday in relation to the 2020 death of 55-year-old Frank Stochel in their shared home.

Carbone, who had been indicted last year on more severe charges, including murder, secured a plea deal with prosecutors who had encountered challenges with evidence. Under the agreement terms, she will likely spend ten years in a state facility, as mandated by New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, entailing that a minimum of 85% of the sentence must be served.

The tragic incident was uncovered when Manchester Township Police were dispatched to a Pine Lake Park residence following reports of an unresponsive man. It was at this local residence, approximately 60 miles south of Manhattan, where the body of Stochel was found lifeless on the floor.

An autopsy performed by the Ocean County Medical Examiner concluded that Stochel had fallen victim to homicide, with injuries aligning with an extraordinarily violent altercation. Objects from within the home, including a shower curtain rod, a tape dispenser, and a wooden board, were identified as the implements used during the murder. These items bore a match to the wounds inflicted upon Stochel, with authorities detailing that Carbone had employed the wooden board in an attempt to suffocate her landlord.

During the initial stages of the investigation, Carbone denied her involvement, claiming to have discovered Stochel’s body by mere coincidence. However, evidence, including her bloody fingerprints on the shower curtain rod hidden in a trash bin, ultimately betrayed her statements.

It was further revealed that Carbone was just one of several individuals who resided in Stochel’s house, having located the lodging through Craigslist.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer acknowledged the complexities of the case, indicating that emerging evidence issues necessitated an ethical review and contributed to the plea bargain. Despite the brutality of Stochel’s murder, Billhimer believes the resolution to be just and emphasized that the victim’s family, who were consulted, concurred with the outcome.

Carbone, who has been in custody since the time of her arrest, is slated for a sentencing hearing on September 13, ending a chapter in a case that has shocked and bewildered the local community.