Sheridan son no longer seeking to handle parents' estate

Posted: December 12, 2014

One of the two sons who had sought to administer the estate of John P. Jr. and Joyce Sheridan has been removed from the initial application on file with the Somerset County (N.J.) Surrogate's Office.

Matthew Sheridan, 40, will no longer seek to handle his parents' estate, leaving his twin, Mark, in line to be the sole administrator. Initial information provided to the Surrogate's Office last month indicated the Sheridans' combined estate was slightly more than $2 million.

The county Prosecutor's Office still has not disclosed what led to the Sheridans' deaths 10 weeks ago.

John Sheridan, Cooper Health System's CEO, and his wife were declared dead Sept. 28 after they were found unresponsive in their master bedroom in Montgomery Township's Skillman section.

John Sheridan, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene after firefighters pulled the couple from an early-morning blaze. Joyce Sheridan, 69, a retired history teacher, was declared dead shortly afterward at a hospital.

Both were found with stab wounds, two sources have confirmed to The Inquirer. Joyce Sheridan's death has been ruled a homicide; John Sheridan's is "pending investigation," according to death certificates filed to begin the estate administration petition with the Surrogate's Office.

The Prosecutor's Office has released few details about the case. Officials with the state Attorney General's Office and State Police are also assisting with the investigation, which authorities have called complex. The family has hired Michael Baden, a well-known pathologist, to assist.

Surrogate Frank Bruno said Wednesday that an attorney for the Sheridan estate asked last week that Matthew Sheridan no longer be on file seeking to be an administrator. Bruno said no explanation was offered, and the change was entered into his office's system this week. The news was first reported by NJ.com.

Neither a family spokesman, Tom Wilson, nor the attorney in charge of the administration application, Edward A. Gramigna Jr., returned requests for comment Wednesday.

No will for the Sheridans has been located. The family has not filed a detailed list of assets such as real estate, cash, and stocks and bonds.

John and Joyce Sheridan owned the two-story house, assessed at $511,500, according to public records, as well as property in New York and Pennsylvania.

Matthew Sheridan joined his other siblings, Tim and Dan, in renouncing their rights to administer the estate.

Matthew Sheridan was arrested on a charge of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia on the day of his parents' deaths. The Prosecutor's Office has said it has not acted on those charges.

The Prosecutor's Office has also said the Sheridans' four sons played no role in their parents' deaths.

A source close to the investigation confirmed that both Sheridans were stabbed and that two knives were recovered. It is believed a third weapon, which has not been recovered, caused wounds on John Sheridan's neck and side, the source said.

Gasoline was used to set the fire in the bedroom, and a gas can, usually kept in the garage, was found in the bedroom, two sources said.


afichera@philly.com

856-779-3917

@AJFichera

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