MONTGOMERY: Big-name friends of John and Joyce Sheridan want case reopened


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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY — Three former New Jersey governors — Democrats and Republicans alike — have called on the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office to reopen the investigation into the deaths of John and Joyce Sheridan.
In a one-page letter released this week, former Republican Govs. Thomas Kean and Christine Todd Whitman and Democratic Gov. James J. Florio wrote that “we knew (the Sheridans) as friends who cared deeply about how they conducted their lives. We were shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic killing of John and Joyce Sheridan in their home in September 2014.”
The Sheridans were found dead in the bedroom of their home on Meadow Drive on Sept. 28, 2014. Mr. Sheridan, who was the president and CEO of Cooper Health System, allegedly stabbed his wife to death and then killed himself, according to the prosecutor’s findings.
The Sheridans’ bedroom was set on fire with gasoline. A half-empty container of gasoline was found in the bedroom, and Mr. Sheridan’s DNA was found on the container that was usually kept in the family’s garage.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office concluded that Mr. Sheridan killed his wife and then committed suicide. The Prosecutor’s Office claims Mr. Sheridan had been observed to be upset and withdrawn, likely because of work-related issues. Ms. Sheridan was upset because it was out of character for him.
But the couple’s four sons have challenged the Prosecutor’s Office’s determination that it was a murder-suicide. They want the cause of death listed for their father to be changed from “suicide” to “undetermined.”
“We have long agreed with independent experts and the media that have reviewed the case that there are compelling reasons to question the murder/suicide conclusion reached by the medical examiner and the Prosecutor’s Office,” the signers of the letter wrote.
“The only truth in this terrible tragedy is that no one knows what happened on that September morning — not us, not the medical examiner, not the prosecutor,” they wrote. Mr. Sheridan, through his personal and professional life, “earned the right to have his life and death assessed competently and accurately.”
“At a minimum, that requires the cause of death be changed by the medical examiner from ‘suicide’ to ‘undetermined,’” they wrote.
The letter, which was also signed by two former state attorneys general, a former State Supreme Court justice and a former chief state prosecutor, said that the signers support the Sheridan family’s efforts to reopen the case “by offering a substantial financial reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of John and Joyce’s killer(s).”
In addition to Govs. Kean, Florio and Whitman and former State Attorneys General John Farmer and Peter Harvey, the letter was signed by numerous attorneys from the law firms of Drinker Biddle and Riker Danizg Scherer Hyland & Perretti, lobbyists, businessmen and personal friends.

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