An 83-year-old Brooklyn woman who was twice convicted of murdering women she lived with was charged with murder on Thursday after investigators found a head in her apartment that, officials said, belonged to a body found in a police station last week. shopping cart was discovered.
Harvey Marcelin, who had spent decades in prison for murder and manslaughter before her release in 2019, was arrested March 4 and was initially charged with hiding human remains.
Ms. Marcelin – who was listed as a man in previous court files but now identifies as a woman according to a law enforcement officer – was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in the death of Susan Leyden, 68. She is charged with dismembering her and hiding her body parts. .
The official says it is not clear how Ms Marcelin and Ms Leyden knew each other. A lawyer listed as Mrs. Marcelin’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Police first discovered pieces of Ms. Leyden’s remains in the early hours of March 3, when a 911 caller reported finding body parts in a shopping cart outside a pawn shop on the corner of Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues in Brooklyn. Police officers arrived and found a woman’s upper body in a multicolored bag with a floral decal.
Days later, police searched Ms. Marcelin’s nearby building after surveillance footage showed Ms Leyden entered the building on February 27 with the same multicolored bag, but did not leave. They discovered Mrs. Leyden’s head in Mrs. Marcelin’s house.
Since the arrest of Mrs. Marcelin, authorities also viewed surveillance footage showing her leaving the apartment with what investigators say was the torso, prosecutors said during a court hearing Thursday.
Ms. Marcelin has spent decades in state prison in connection with two murders in Manhattan, in 1963 and 1984.
In October 1963, she was convicted of first degree murder for fatally shooting her then-girlfriend in a Harlem apartment building.
The state court judge overseeing the case imposed a life sentence after the jury was unable to decide whether to impose the death penalty, court files show.
In May 1984, Mrs. Marcelin, according to state records, released from prison for life.
Less than a year later, after a body was found in a bag near Central Park, Manhattan prosecutors said Ms. Marcelin had stabbed to death another woman she was living with. In 1986, she pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison, state records show.
Because of her parole, that sentence was added to the original life term, the records show. Over the next three decades, she repeatedly sought parole and was denied. During a 1997 appearance before the state’s probation commission, Ms. Marcelin described the 1984 crime and said she had “problems” with women, according to a state court filing.
In 2010, the state turned down a new parole offer, saying that “your release is currently incompatible with the well-being and safety of the community,” court records show.
She was released on parole in 2019, records show.