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New Charges For Union Township Man Accused Of Killing Girlfriend

Matthew Ballister's Bail Has Been Raised To $5.5-Million
Eleanor Schofield & Matthew Ballister III (credit: Union County Prosecutor's Office)

Eleanor Schofield & Matthew Ballister III (credit: Union County Prosecutor’s Office)

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — Several new charges have been filed against a northern New Jersey man who allegedly killed his girlfriend.

Matthew Ballister III was initially charged with murder in the death of April Wyckoff, a 43-year-old Cranford resident who authorities believe was killed in Ballister’s Union Township home on Oct. 22. He was arrested the next day, and human remains discovered along the Passaic River in Newark on Oct. 27 were identified as belonging to Wyckoff.

Ballister’s bail initially was set at $2 million. But a judge raised it to $5.5 million on Friday after prosecutors charged the 43-year-old Ballister with felony murder, kidnapping, burglary, making terroristic threats, criminal restraint and two counts each of desecration of human remains and hindering apprehension.

Authorities have said Wyckoff, a divorced mother with a 23-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter, was killed by blunt force trauma. But a motive for the slaying has not been disclosed, and authorities continue looking for additional remains.

Ballister’s 70-year-old mother, Eleanor Schofield, is accused of interfering with the investigation. Authorities say the Mountainside resident attempted to assist in his effort to conceal evidence of the crime.

A lawyer for Ballister has said he would plead not guilty to the charges.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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