BRIDGETON — A South Jersey man pleaded not guilty in the death of his estranged wife on Friday.

Jeremiah Monell, 32, appeared in Superior Court in Bridgeton for his post-indictment arraignment, officials confirmed.

During that appearance Monell entered his plea in the case.

Monell, of Cedarville, allegedly stabbed 35-year-old Tara O’Shea-Watson to death on Dec. 18 in her home in the Laurel Lake section of Commercial Township while their 12-year-old son watched.

Earlier this year, before he was indicted, Monell turned down a Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office offer to take a plea deal. That deal called for him to serve at least 30 years in state prison in exchange for saying he was guilty.

Monell turns down plea deal in murder case

Later, a Cumberland County grand jury indicted Monell on charges of murder, weapons offenses and contempt, according to court records.

O’Shea Watson’s death came after what friends said was a long, rocky relationship with Monell.

They said that she had planned to leave the area to get away from him.

After her murder, police quickly identified Monell as a suspect and a two-week manhunt ensued. He was found in a wooded area of Atlantic County.

Monell is represented by public defender Lindsey Seidel. Cumberland County Assistant Prosecutor Brent Hopkins is handling the case for the state.

Monell is being held without bail.

His next court hearing is expected in June.

Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at [email protected] Follow Bill Gallo Jr. on Twitter @bgallojr. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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