A 19-year-old Camden man was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday following his arrest in the bloody hatchet-attack slaying of his stepfather in their Cramer Hill home.
James Miller, who eluded a police search for a week after the March 29 death, was jailed after a brief arraignment hearing in which bail was set by Superior Court Judge Irvin Snyder.
Miller was arrested April 6 in North Philadelphia and recently returned to Camden to face homicide charges.
He is accused of killing Josue Rivera, 40, in the home where they lived in the 2700 block of Tyler Street. Rivera was married to Miller's mother.
Rivera, a native of Puerto Rico who worked in the warehouse of a pharmaceutical company, was found bludgeoned to death around 4 a.m. Relatives called 911, and an investigation led police to seek Miller, who had disappeared.
Authorities provided few details about the homicide or a possible motive in the days following the slaying.
In a police statement of probable cause made public as part of Friday's hearing, authorities said Rivera's wife - who is not identified by name in the document - told them that her son had beaten Rivera to death.
According to the police report, Rivera's body was found in the bedroom of the couple's home.
Investigators were told that Miller and Rivera had argued and that Miller had threatened Rivera, but that his mother had interceded and that he had appeared to "calm down."
But then Miller "attacked Josue Rivera with a hatchet," standing over him and "beating him in the head," according to the probable cause statement.
A medical examiner's report indicated that the back of Rivera's skull had been crushed with the cause of death listed as blunt force trauma.
The report offered no indication of what Miller and Rivera were arguing about.