On the morning of Jan. 11, 2008, Stanton Popewiny called police to his grandfather’s home at 38 Woodmere Road in Cedar Grove. The 87-year-old retired psychiatrist, Eugene Hrabarchuck, had fallen in the upstairs bedroom, Popewiny, 24, told the police.
The mansion is at the top of a mountain that borders Montclair.
Popewiny had been living in the house with his wife for more than a year. He told police he was there to care for his grandfather, who suffered from a number of ailments.
The police officers questioned why there was a large amount of blood in the area where the grandfather supposedly had fallen out of bed. And Hrabarchuck suffered too many injuries to be consistent with an accidental fall.
Hrabarchuck, who was partially disabled from diabetes, died of his injuries. An autopsy showed he died of multiple blunt force trauma. In other words, he’d been beaten to death.
The homicide was the first in Cedar Grove in more than four years.
Popewiny was charged with murder. A grand jury returned a five-count indictment that included two counts of conspiracy, murder, and a weapons offense.
Popewiny’s wife, Wesley Carr, told the cops that Popewiny owned a rifle that may have been used to beat the older man. Popewiny hid the weapon in the basement after the crime, she said.
Here’s what Carr told police and prosecutors:
Popewiny had gotten out of bed the morning of Jan. 11, went across the hall to his grandfather’s room. There were thuds and a scream. When Popewiny returned, he told her, “It’s taken care of of.”
Popewiny then washed his clothes and hid the rifle.
Officers obtained a search warrant. They found Popewiny’s wet clothes in the basement, along with a BB rifle.
The evidence was apparently enough to persuade Popewiny to plead guilty to manslaughter. He claimed that his grandfather had fallen and that when he tried to help, the older man beat him with his cane.
Popewiny admitted to flipping out and then striking Hrabarchuck with a blunt instrument.
The jailed grandson received a 13-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to aggravated manslaughter. Popewiny’s parents were in court as he pled guilty.
Popewiny and Carr are now divorced.
Popewiny will be eligible for parole on Jan. 27, 2019.