An accidental erasure has destroyed prosecutors' undercover recording of a telephone call between a man suspected of pedophilia and his purported victim, who himself is charged with killing an 11-year-old boy.
The erasure occurred while the tape was being copied, said Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Robert A. Honecker Jr.
The recording was made last year to gain additional evidence against Stephen P. Simmons, 44, who is accused of having a yearlong affair with Sam Manzie.
After the recording was made, Manzie stopped cooperating with authorities trying to catch Simmons and smashed the recording equipment placed on his home phone. Days later, he was charged in the Sept. 27, 1997, slaying of Eddie Werner, an 11-year-old boy who came to his door selling holiday items for a PTA fund raiser.
Simmons is charged with sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and child endangerment. Manzie is charged with raping and killing Werner.