Newark police have identified the body discovered on New Year’s Eve at the Cherry Island Landfill as 66-year-old John P. Wheeler of New Castle.Wheeler, who lived part time in Old New Castle, worked as a defense consultant and had a long and decorated military career that involved working in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.Wheeler also served as chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the wall in Washington, D.C.His death has been ruled a homicide.Newark police have had a crime scene unit at Wheeler’s home at 108 West Third St. in Old New Castle all day today, with crime-scene tape roping off the prominent three-story brick home with black shutters.Friends and neighbors were shocked to learn Wheeler had been murdered.“This is just not the kind of guy who gets murdered,” said Bayard Marin, a Wilmington attorney who represented Wheeler. “This is not the kind of guy you find in a landfill.”Wheeler worked in Washington, D.C. and investigators have determined he was on an Amtrak train from Washington to Wilmington on Tuesday, said Newark police Lt. Mark Farrall.“The last place they can put him is getting off the Amtrak train in Wilmington,” Farrall said.
"...Wheeler's second neighbor, an elderly man of 85 named Robert Meadus described the death of John Wheeler as "exceedingly wierd. WTOP FM Radio also reported Meadus saying, "The more you think about it, the more implausable it becomes...It's a Perry Mason thing for sure."
John Wheeler's third neighbor--actually a husband and wife, Frank and Reginia Marini--got their own unwelcome surprise this week: a smoke bomb thrown into their home on Tuesday.
But it is Frank and Reginia Marini who are garnering the most attention, as John Wheeler and his wife Katherine Klyce sued the Marini's in 2009 due to their attempt to build a house that, inevitably, would block the Wheelers' view of the Delaware River from their own home.
Firefighters are investigating the smoke bomb, but no damage has been reported, and there is not evidence at this time that the incident bears on the Wheeler murder.
In addition the Marini's home across from the Wheeler's is still not complete.
Wheeler's last neighbor, and the one who has the most to share about the week surrounding his death, is Ron Roark.
John's neighbor Ron heard loud noise emminating from John's television during Christmas week, and it wasn't the usual occassional program, as Roark says: it was so loud as to be disturbing...and it was continuous for days."
"...Delaware law enforcement aren't saying how John P. Wheeler III died, but they are denying his home was the crime scene. However, according to WTOP FM Radio, two wooden chairs in the Wheeler's kitchen had yellow crime scene tape stretched across them--and several wooden floorboards near the two chairs were missing.
This could indicate that John P. Wheeler took that Amtrak train and actually made it home. He might also have had an unexpected guest who felt noise was called for as he searched for something buried in the kitchen--and left John Wheeler tied to a chair.
Police have not indicated how John Wheeler died, thus it is not know if torture was part of that death. But unusually loud television noise is often used to mask the sounds of activity others are not meant to hear in the criminal world, and John P. Wheeler did die by foul play."