New Bedford native Eric Pope's accused killer is back in jail with a new charge. Read more

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The man accused of punching former New Bedford School Committee member Eric Pope in the face outside of a Philadelphia bar in April 2022, leading to his death, is back in custody with a new charge and higher bail, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office reports.

He'd previously been out on $350,000 bail since May 10, 2022, court records show. On Thursday, a judge modified the amount to $500,000, according to the DA's office, after hearing prosecutors' request to revoke bail altogether.

Kenneth Frye, who was 24 at the time of Pope's death, is now being charged with burglary of a state liquor store, during a rash of lootings that broke out in Philadelphia on Sept. 26. The widespread looting followed the dismissal of charges against Mark Dial, the police officer accused of wrongfully shooting and killing 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry in August.

As of Thursday, Frye remained in custody, according to Jane Roh, communications director for the Philadelphia DA.

DA still trying to reinstate murder charge

In other matters related to the case, the DA is still pursuing an appeal to have the court reinstate the third degree murder charge originally brought against Frye for Pope's death, after it was reduced to involuntary manslaughter in December 2022.

Read the latest local news: Jonathan Niemic has been convicted in the 2010 murder of Michael Correia for a third time.

The next hearing relative to that appeal is set for Nov. 2, before a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel, Roh said.

Update on Dial case

On Wednesday, charges against Dial for the shooting death of Irizarry were reinstated by Judge Lillian Ransom, according to media reports. Ransom is the same judge handling Frye's case, court records show.

About Eric Pope

Pope, a New Bedford native, is known locally for being New Bedford's youngest-ever School Committee member at the time he was first elected in 2001 at age 21.

Eric Pope, seen here in a file photo from Facebook, is known locally for being the youngest ever School Committee member in New Bedford at the time he was elected in 2010 at age 21. He died in a hospital on April 23, 2022, a week after being punched in the face outside of a Philadelphia bar and lounge.
Eric Pope, seen here in a file photo from Facebook, is known locally for being the youngest ever School Committee member in New Bedford at the time he was elected in 2010 at age 21. He died in a hospital on April 23, 2022, a week after being punched in the face outside of a Philadelphia bar and lounge.

Get some background on this story: 'A big void in the world': Eric Pope remembered for service to New Bedford

On the night of April 16, 2022, Frye was allegedly working as a bouncer at the Tabu Lounge and Sports bar, in an area of Philadelphia known as the "Gayborhood," according to Roh. He's accused of punching Pope in the face outside of the establishment that night, leading to his death in a hospital a week later on April 23, 2022.

Pope, who had been living in Washington D.C. for a number of years at the time of his death, was 41.

News of Pope's death sparked grief and outrage from local New Bedford leaders, a number of whom noted his strong sense of service to the community.

"Eric ... distinguished himself as a champion of our city’s school children and an ardent proponent of elevating academic standards," New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell wrote in a statement released shortly after Pope's death. "We are grateful for his public service and commitment to the city."

This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: New charge filed on accused killer of New Bedford native Eric Pope