- Associated Press - Saturday, September 16, 2017

EASTON, Pa. (AP) - A man originally charged with helping dispose of a body of a man authorities said was bludgeoned to death with a shotgun in a drug-fueled rage has now been charged in the slaying.

A Northampton County judge ruled Friday there was enough evidence for Charles Yocum Jr., 33, to stand trial on charges of homicide and conspiracy in the death of Joseph Goda, 28, whose body was found in the trunk of a car.

Police say Goda was bludgeoned with a shotgun in a Bethlehem apartment in September 2016 after he, Yocum and James Heimbach, 31, used flakka, a synthetic drug similar to bath salts.

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Prosecutors originally charged Yocum with abuse of a corpse, alleging that he helped wrap the body in a rug and stuff it in the trunk of a car, where it was found when the vehicle was recovered from Monroe County.

But they said a jailhouse informant later came forward and said Yocum had implicated himself, saying he was going to “beat” the murder and let Heimbach “take the rap.”

Defense attorney Gavin Holihan suggested that the informant was trying to help Heimbach, pointing out that he and the new witness were lodged in the same section of the county prison.

“You’ve got a gentleman who is living on the same wing as Heimbach who comes forward and pins the murder on a third party,” Holihan said.

Heimbach was arrested in Monroe County days after the killing for public drunkenness after Pocono Township police reported finding him in his underwear, running into traffic and screaming at passing cars.

He was charged with the murder, but his attorney has also suggested that Yocum was the real killer. In filing the new charges, prosecutors said they had concluded that the men were accomplices and were both responsible for the death.

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