An 83-year-old parolee, who has twice been convicted for murder, has been charged with murdering a Brooklyn woman and dismembering her body, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced.

Harvey Marcelin, 83, is facing the charges after she was caught on video leaving her apartment with 68-year-old victim Susan Leyden’s leg and torso in a bag, which she left on the streets of East New York, and later Leyden’s head and other limbs were found in her apartment, Gonzalez said.

Harvey Marcelin. Photo: NYPD.

Marceline was arraigned on Wednesday in an indictment in which she is charged with first- and second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a human corpse. At the hearing, Marcelin’s attorney Andrew Friedman entered the plea of not guilty. “My client maintains her innocence,” Friedman told Justice Danny Chun.

According to the DA’s investigation, Marcelin and Leyden had lived in the same shelter in the Bronx in 2019, but the nature of their relationship is unclear. 

The investigation says that surveillance footage taken on February 27 allegedly showed Leyden entering Marcelin’s apartment on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York. She was never seen leaving the apartment alive.

Additional surveillance footage showed Marcelin allegedly rolling a wheeled shopping bag containing a black plastic bag on March 2. The victim’s torso was discovered in that bag in the early morning hours of March 3.

Susan Leyden. Photo: Facebook.

In a subsequent search of Marceline’s apartment, police discovered the victim’s head and limbs, as well as blood, cleaning supplies, a hammer and a box of an electric saw, the DA’s office said. On March 7, one of the victim’s legs was found near a garbage can about three blocks away. 

Surveillance video also allegedly showed Marcelin purchasing a saw and cleaning supplies in a Manhattan Home Depot around the time of Leyden’s disappearance, Gonzalez said.

The Medical Examiner determined Leyden, who was living in Clinton Hill, suffered blunt force trauma to the head and other physical injuries to her body.

Marcelin has spent more than 50 years in prison for two past killings; in 1963 she shot and killed her live-in girlfriend, Jacqueline Bonds, and in 1985 she fatally stabbed another live-in girlfriend, before stuffing her body into a bag and dumping it near Central Park, The New York Post reports. On Wednesday, she was ordered held without bail to return to court on May 19. She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the top count.

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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