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Prosecutor Drops One Charge in Newport Coast Murder Case

Peter Chadwick no longer faces a murder-for-financial-gain accusation, but he still faces other felony counts.

A prosecutor dismissed a special circumstance allegation Tuesday in the case against a 48-year-old Newport Beach man accused of murdering his wife and dumping her body in San Diego County.

Peter Chadwick was facing a special circumstance allegation that he killed his wife, Quee Chadwick, for financial gain. Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy dismissed that special circumstance because he said he does not have enough evidence to prove it at this point.

"The investigation is ongoing, but at this point it was appropriate to dismiss the special circumstance," Murphy said. "If we get more evidence we will re-allege it."

Chadwick was being held without bail, but the dismissal of the special circumstance lowered his bail to $1 million, Murphy said. He posted bail early Wednesday and is no longer eligible for the death penalty.

Chadwick was arrested Oct. 11 near the U.S.-Mexico border in his Lexus sport utility vehicle. His wife's body was found in a trash bin near Lakeside in San Diego County.

Newport Beach police were alerted Oct. 10 when the woman failed to pick up her three children from school. About 5:30 a.m. the next day, Peter Chadwick called San Diego police as he was driving along Interstate 905 and was later arrested.

The couple were discussing a divorce at the time of her slaying. Murphy said investigators found blood and signs of a struggle in the Chadwicks' Newport Coast home.

Chadwick was next due in court March 1.

-City News Service

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