Elderly dismemberment suspect shopped at 99 Cent store with victim’s leg in tow

By Rocco Parascandola and Shant Shahrigian
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The octogenarian suspect in a gruesome Brooklyn murder shopped at a 99 Cent store with her victim’s dismembered leg hidden in her electric wheelchair, police said Friday.

Victim Susan Leyden’s leg – severed from the knee down – was captured on surveillance video when her accused killer Harvey Marcelin got up from the wheelchair while inside the store, a said Chief of Detectives James Essig at a news conference on Friday.

Site where a severed leg was found inside an abandoned tire on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn.

Site where a severed leg was found inside an abandoned tire on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn. (Kerry Burke/New York Daily News/TNS)

“She gets up from her wheelchair there and the leg is right there on the seat,” Essig said.

The chef did not say when Marcelin, who also went by Marcelin Harvey, went on the horrific shopping spree.

Marcelin, an 83-year-old transgender woman, was arrested on March 4 after being identified as the person who dumped Leyden’s headless and limbless torso in a shopping cart at Atlantic and Pennsylvania Aves. in eastern New York. The NYPD says Leyden’s head was found inside Marcelin’s house.

“This is a gruesome and barbaric homicide that culminated in the destruction of a headless torso in a corner of New York City,” Essig said. “It takes a serial killer off the street. It’s only the last [in] a list of heinous offenses committed during a lifetime by Ms. Harvey. We can only hope that she can do nothing more.

The NYPD was able to piece together Marcelin’s movements at the time of the horrific murder.

On Feb. 27, Marcelin was seen entering his apartment building with the shopping cart that Leyden was later found in, according to Essig. On March 1, she and another woman went to a Home Depot in Manhattan and bought a “Sawzall” electric reciprocating saw, plastic bags and cleaning fluids.

The other woman, who was not identified by cops, has not been charged.

Cops say Marcelin was captured on video March 2 as he left his apartment building with a bag allegedly containing Leyden’s body parts.

Essig said there were “blood splatters and multiple trash bags” in the killer’s apartment on Pennsylvania Ave.

The suspect had previously killed two other women, dumping the body of one victim in plastic bags in Central Park in 1985. Marcelin was paroled in 2019.

Leyden lived for eight months in the Stonewall House development for LGBTQ seniors and was an active supporter of LGBTQ causes, police said.

Marcelin, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 125 pounds, had known Leyden for at least two years after meeting on social media, said Chief John Chell, chief detective for North Brooklyn.

A lawyer for Marcelin did not immediately return a request for comment. The suspect made no statement to police and no mental health issues were immediately known, officials said.

The police are investigating whether any unsolved crimes may be linked to Marcelin.

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