NEW YORK - An 83-year-old ex-con who did two stints in prison — each time for killing a woman — is now charged with murder once again after police found human body parts in and near her apartment and obtained video of her riding a motorized wheelchair with a severed human leg in the seat.
A grand jury has indicted Harvey Marcelin, who identifies as a transgender woman, on charges of second-degree murder, evidence tampering, and concealing a dead body in connection with the death of Susan Leyden, 68, of Brooklyn.
Leyden's torso was found in a shopping cart on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in the Cypress Hills section on March 3. Police said the body was in a large plastic bag inside the cart. The woman's head, arms, and legs were missing.
Police said on Feb. 27, Leyden was seen on a security video entering 50 Pennsylvania Avenue with the same shopping cart her body was later found in. Marcelin lives in an apartment in that building, police said.
Marcelin was seen on surveillance video inside a store getting up from a wheelchair and exposing a leg on the seat, Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
Marcelin and another unidentified woman went to a Home Depot in Manhattan on March 1 and purchased a reciprocating saw, trash bags, and cleaning fluid, Essig said. They are then seen returning to 50 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The next day, Marcelin is seen leaving the shopping cart at Pennsylvania Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, Essig said. About six hours later, a passerby called 911 about the cart, leading police to discover the dismembered body inside a trash bag.
Police searched Marcelin's apartment on March 4 and found a human head and other body parts as well as blood-splattered shopping bags, the NYPD said.
Then on March 7, a leg was found on Jamaica Avenue.
"This is a gruesome and barbaric homicide which resulted in a headless torso being disposed of on a New York City corner," Essig said, adding that the arrest and indictment "takes a serial killer off our streets."
Marcelin spent decades behind bars for killing two ex-girlfriends. She was on lifetime parole for manslaughter, according to a New York State database.
Her record has five previous arrests, including felony assault in September 1957 and rape in March 1963.
On April 18, 1963, Marcelin shot Jacqueline Bonds with a .32-caliber revolver inside an apartment in Harlem. Bond ran into a bedroom where Marcelin shot her again. Bonds then staggered into the living room, collapsed, and died. Three bullet wounds were found in her body.
Marcelin was convicted, served 20 years in prison, and was released in May 1984.
Then in November 1985, she stabbed a girlfriend to death in Central Park, police said. After repeatedly stabbing the victim, Marcelin placed her body in a trash bag and left it on a street in Manhattan.
Marcelin was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to a prison term of 6 to 12 years. She was released from the Cayuga Correctional Facility in August 2019.
At a State Parole Board hearing in 1997, Marcelin admitted that she had "problems" with women.