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Man, Ex-Wife Charged in Pocono Cold Case Murder

JACKSON TOWNSHIP — A man and his ex-wife are now charged with a homicide case in Monroe County that dates back to 2002. James Britton, 35, is from Califor...

JACKSON TOWNSHIP -- A man and his ex-wife are now charged with a homicide case in Monroe County that dates back to 2002.

James Britton, 35, is from California but used to live in Wilkes-Barre.

The charges stem from an investigation into the murder and dismemberment of a man whose remains were discovered inside two burn barrels off North Road in Jackson Township near Reeders in 2002.

Stacy Britton, 46, is also charged in the case.

The former couple, who lived in Wilkes-Barre at the time, gave gruesome details of their crime to authorities after going to extreme lengths to cover it up.

That couple has since divorced and the wife contacted police this month and confessed.

This double-block house on Dougher Lane in Wilkes-Barre is now the place police believe a 46-year-old Wilkes-Barre man was gruesomely attacked and killed 13 years ago by James and Stacy Britton.

Barbara Thurston's daughter has lived in this house for the past four years and says they were shocked when a forensic team showed up at their door earlier this week.

"She was sleeping. She just woke up and they said something about the murder. She was just still half sleep. She was like 'What? You must have the wrong house,'" said Barbara Thurston of Wilkes-Barre.

Investigators carried out nine bags of evidence from the home.

According to court documents, James Britton and his wife beat Robert Roudebush with a hammer inside the home, stabbed him, then dragged his body to the basement where it stayed for days until the couple dismembered the body and burned it on a property in Monroe County.

That body was found a year later off North Road in Jackson Township near Reeders.

"It's just scary, disgusting. I don't know, it's creepy," Thurston said.

Neighbors in Wilkes-Barre say they remember a fire on Dougher Lane back in 2002, in fact they were the ones that called. Court documents show that fire was set in this home a month after the murder as a way to destroy evidence.

Police did not suspect Britton and his wife for the fire or the murder because the couple told authorities their neighbor, who happened to be convicted killer Larry Tooley, told the Brittons that he killed Robert Roudebush.

Reverend Anthony Vieney was moving into the neighborhood when all this happened and has lived there ever since.

"You would never expect something like that to happen on this street, but I'm devastated to hear that something like that would happen on this street," Vieney said.

Vieney says the most disturbing detail of this murder may be that James Britton eventually confessed and told police "he allowed the victim to pray before Stacy finished him off."

"They allowed him to confess and get his sins out, but I think they were concerned about themselves," Vieney added.

Both James Britton and Stacy Britton were charged with this murder and are locked up in the Monroe County jail.

They face charges including criminal homicide, tampering with evidence, perjury, and hindering prosecution.

They have a hearing scheduled next month.