FREEHOLD, NJ – A three-judge appellate court panel issued a decision today upholding the 2014 murder conviction of a Middletown man accused of bludgeoning his wife with a frying pan and strangling her to death in the kitchen of their West Front Street home. The ruling was handed up despite Allen’s claims of error during jury selection and the improper admission of expert testimony during his trial, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Patrick Allen, 51, of Middletown is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility in a New Jersey state prison. The sentence was imposed after a jury of four men and eight women convicted Allen of charges of first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence, and third-degree hindering apprehension.
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge John T. Mullaney, now retired, presided over the ten-week trial, which concluded with the guilty verdicts on Dec. 4, 2014. Allen filed an appeal after he was sentenced. The result of that appeal was today’s opinion, affirming Allen’s judgment of conviction.
The case began with a 911 call around 11:45 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2011. Middletown police responded to the West Front Street home of Kimberly and Patrick Allen, where they found the victim, 44-year-old Kimberly Allen, deceased on the kitchen floor.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Middletown Township Police Department determined Allen and his wife were involved in an altercation that led to Patrick Allen striking his wife with a frying pan and killing her. The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of Kimberly Allen’s death was homicidal violence, including asphyxia and blunt impact injuries to the head.
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Patrick Allen was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife. At trial, Allen denied that he committed the murder and suggested that an intruder broke into the home and killed the victim, an argument the jury soundly rejected by its guilty verdict.
On his appeal, Allen claimed that he was entitled to a new trial because the trial judge erred by refusing to permit Allen to exercise a peremptory challenge to strike a female juror from the panel. Allen also claimed that the prosecution should not have been allowed to call a crime scene reconstruction expert to analyze and interpret blood stains at the crime scene and offer opinions about the manner and circumstances of the victim’s death. Allen claimed the expert was not qualified to give the opinions that he did and that his opinions were based on insufficient facts. Allen also challenged certain police officer testimony and portions of the jury charge. In a 46-page opinion, Appellate Division Judges Marie P. Simonelli, Michael J. Haas, and Garry S. Rothstadt found Allen received a fair trial and rejected his claims.
The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Maria Franceschini and Mary Juliano. The appeal was handled by Paul H. Heinzel, Esq., presently an Assistant Prosecutor at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
Allen was represented at trial by John Charles Allen, Esq., of New Brunswick.