A 35-year-old Massachusetts man facing a child pornography arrest there is accused of assaulting and strangling to death a Northampton mother earlier this month in front of her two children because she was "annoying him."
Thadius McGrath was charged Tuesday with first- and third-degree murder, endangering the welfare of children and related offenses in the June 8 death of Samantha Rementer, 31, who was described in court documents as his "paramour."
McGrath is not the father of Rementer's children, ages 2 and 5. Their father, Rementer's longtime partner, died of a heart attack in February 2021, according to the family.
Northampton police arrived at Rementer's condominium in the 12000 block of Clarke Court after McGrath's mother called Bucks County's 911 center requesting a well-being check after a "possibly suicidal" call from her son, according to a probable cause affidavit.
After several unanswered knocks, police heard movement inside the condo. Rementer's oldest daughter then answered the door covered in blood, according to the affidavit. She told police her mother was dead.
"(McGrath) killed mommy because she was annoying him and then (McGrath) shot himself accidentally," the girl told police, according to the affidavit.
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After killing Rementer, McGrath allegedly confessed to his father, and then attempted suicide, according to the affidavit. As of Tuesday, McGrath was alive and hospitalized at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia.
After police entered the condo, they found Rementer's other daughter in a highchair in the dining room. Neither child was harmed.
After removing the children, police found Rementer dead on the floor of a rear bedroom that appeared to belong to her daughters. She had blunt force trauma to her face and the cord for a large floor lamp wrapped around her neck. The lamp was covered in blood, police said.
McGrath was found on his back on the floor of a front bedroom moaning and moving his hands. He was also covered in blood. After moving McGrath, police found a black semi-automatic pistol and fired cartridge casing, the affidavit said.
Police interviewed McGrath's father in Chatham, Massachusetts, who allegedly confirmed that his son admitted to strangling Rementer in a phone call to him after the murder.
In a police interview on Monday, Thadius McGrath admitted killing Rementer "after she made me mad," the affidavit said. He allegedly told police he struck Rementer in her daughters' bedroom with a black step ladder and then a lamp and then strangled her with the lamp cord.
He told police that he killed Rementer in front of her daughters, as the older one begged him to stop.
"Please stop. Please stop. You are killing my mom," the girl said, according to the affidavit.
McGrath allegedly claimed that he did not stop strangling Rementer until she turned purple and he knew she was dead, police said.
In Massachusetts, McGrath is awaiting a court appearance stemming from a May 2021 arrest on one count of child pornography possession, Chatham Police Chief Heath Eldredge confirmed. He was due in court June 13, where a judge would have considered a plea agreement, but that matter has been continued, Eldredge said.
Massachusetts authorities allege they began investigating McGrath after two tips were generated from an online cloud service provider that reported images of child sexual abuse material had been uploaded and identified McGrath as the account user.
Rementer's children are now in the custody of their grandfather, Bill Rementer. A Go-Fund-Me account set up for the girls has raised more than $15,000 since it was started last week.
The police told Bill Rementer that McGrath confirmed that his 5-year-old granddaughter bit him when he was assaulting her mother, he said in a message on Tuesday.
"I am very very proud of both my granddaughters," Rementer added.
He also praised the Northampton Police Department as acting in a "caring and professional manner throughout this entire ordeal."
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Massachusetts man accused in strangulation death of Northampton mom