LAKEWOOD, N.J. -- A man used an ax and carpet cutter knife to kill his 61-year-old mother after an argument last week in the adult community where they lived, according to court records released Wednesday.
Brian Cassidy, 41, was charged Wednesday with the murder of his mother, Gail Conway, whom authorities found dead Tuesday in her condominium in the Country Place development, authorities said.
Cassidy continued to live in the condo after his mother's death, according to a knowledgeable source not authorized to speak on the record.
At his first court appearance Wednesday, Cassidy remained mostly silent, except to respond to the judge. Among his charges: Cassidy stands accused of possessing the ax and carpet cutter knife used in his mother's murder and stealing her gray 2013 Honda Civic.
The ax and knife were found in the bedroom - along with the bloodied, lifeless body of Conway. She was in her bed, dressed in her nightclothes, stabbed and cut "multiple" times, according to the source.
Police said an autopsy would be performed Wednesday night or Thursday.
Conway worked at a local CVS drugstore. Cassidy worked part time per diem as a lineman for a cable company.
Early Tuesday, when police found Conway's body, neighbors said that they saw Cassidy walking his Yorkie-mix dog on a leash at 7:30 a.m. outside the condo. They had not seen Conway since she spoke at a condo association meeting Thursday night.
Neighbors said the mother and son lived together for years and often argued - and the blowups were sometimes so loud, they could be heard from outside.
However, police were never called there to break up a fight, and Cassidy had no previous run-ins with the law, the source said.
The argument that ended Conway's life happened early Friday morning, the source said. It took place in her bedroom, where police say Cassidy used the carpet cutter and ax to kill his mother, the source said.
Cassidy is charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and theft of a vehicle, according to a joint statement issued by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson.
Cassidy's bail was set at $1 million cash by state Superior Court Judge Wendel Daniels. Cassidy remained in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River.
The crime scene
Police went to Conway's home Tuesday after being called by her co-workers, who were concerned because she had not shown up for work. There was no answer at the home. Police found a spare key outside, entered and found Conway dead in her bed.
Blood evidence and the condition of the body made it clear that she was the victim of a homicide, authorities said.
A burgundy Nissan Sentra parked in the driveway was registered to Cassidy. Police towed it away as evidence.
However, Conway's gray 2013 Honda Civic was missing.
About 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, township police Detective Jason Pederson saw Conway's car on a road in Howell.
The vehicle pulled into a parking space near a hockey rink. Cassidy got out of the car and started to walk his dog near a wooded area.
Pederson was assisted by additional police, and Cassidy was taken into custody without incident.
A victim's advocate for Conway's family said they declined to speak with the media at this time.
Contributing: Asbury Park Press reporter Amanda Oglesby