NEW YORK — The octogenerian suspect in a grisly Brooklyn murder shopped at a 99 Cent store with her victim’s dismembered leg tucked away in her electric wheelchair, police said Friday.
The leg of victim Susan Leyden – cut off from the knee down – was captured on surveillance video when her accused killer Harvey Marcelin stood up from the wheelchair while inside the store, Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a Friday press conference.
“She gets up out of her wheelchair there and the leg is right there on the seat,” Essig said.
The chief did not specify when Marcelin, who also went by Marcelin Harvey, went on the horrific shopping trip.
Marcelin, an 83-year-old transgender woman, was arrested March 4 after she was identified as the person who ditched Leyden’s headless, limbless torso in a shopping cart at Atlantic and Pennsylvania Aves. in East New York. The NYPD says Leyden’s head was found inside Marcelin’s home.
“This is a gruesome and barbaric homicide which resulted in a headless torso being disposed of on a New York City corner,” Essig said. “It takes a serial killer off the street. This is just the latest [in] a list of heinous offenses conducted over the period of a lifetime by Ms. Harvey. We can only hope that she can do no more.”
The NYPD was able to piece together Marcelin’s movements around the time of the horrific killing.
On Feb. 27, Marcelin was seen entering her apartment building with the shopping cart in which Leyden was later found, according to Essig. On March 1, she and another woman went to a Home Depot in Manhattan and bought a “Sawzall” reciprocating electric saw, plastic bags and cleaning liquids.
The other woman, who was not identified by cops, has not been charged.
Cops say Marcelin was captured on video March 2 leaving her apartment building with a bag allegedly containing Leyden’s body parts.
Essig said there was “blood spatter and several trash bags” at the killer’s Pennsylvania Ave. apartment.
The suspect previously killed two other women, dumping the body of one victim in plastic bags in Central Park in 1985. Marcelin was released on parole in 2019.
Leyden lived for eight months at the Stonewall House development for elderly LGBTQ people and was an active supporter of LGBTQ causes, police said.
Marcelin, who is 6 feet tall and weights 125 pounds, had known Leyden for at least two years after meeting on social media, said Chief John Chell, head of detectives in north Brooklyn.
A lawyer for Marcelin did not immediately return a request for comment. The suspect has made no statements to police, and any mental health issues were not immediately known, officials said.
Police are investigating whether any unsolved crimes can be linked to Marcelin.