STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Investigators believe a Monroe County man killed a woman five years ago and staged her death to look like a suicide. Now that man is charged with criminal homicide. Tuesday, he faced a judge for his arraignment.
James Bidwell of Tobyhanna Township has had many run-in’s with the law. He’s been convicted on charges including burglary, criminal conspiracy, and patronizing a prostitute. Bidwell was also charged with a slew of drug offenses, and now homicide.
“God has his hands around me he will reveal the truth”.
That’s all James Bidwell had to say while walking into his arraignment Tuesday. He’s charged with killing Kristen Wagner, five years after she was found dead in a scrap yard Bidwell owns on Crowe Road in Stroud Township.
A supervisor found the 27-year-old hanging from an electrical wire and called 911. Wagner’s death was ruled a suicide by hanging. Although, according to a grand jury’s findings, the death looked suspicious.
Tony Gizzo runs a prison fellowship program at The Monroe County Correctional Facility. He meets with Bidwell once a week and believes he’s a religious man incapable of murder.
Gizzo says, “he’s confident because he didn’t commit the crime. He said ‘they don’t really have anything against me’.”
Three years after the death, Bidwell’s associate made a chilling call to authorities, claiming Bidwell admitted to choking Wagner out and staging her murder as a suicide.
Gizzo adds, “I’m thinking that if I asked him that at this point, he would say ‘I never said that’.”
Court papers say Bidwell was having an affair with Wagner, feeding her with meth and Percocet pills. Witnesses say in the past, he even threatened to kill her.
Hours before that supervisor called 911, Bidwell allegedly contacted his wife, saying Wagner had committed suicide. But Bidwell says he was nowhere near the crime scene that night and maintains his innocence.
WBRE/WYOU did reach out to several of Kristen Wagner’s family members, who declined to comment at this time.
Because James Bidwell is charged with criminal homicide, the judge denied him bail Tuesday. He’s behind bars at the Monroe County Correctional Facility awaiting his preliminary hearing.