A Jamaica landlord killed his tenant with a machete before turning the blade on himself Tuesday morning after the two had a long quarrel over the rent, police and neighbors said.
Hettie Patterson, 48, who was living in a basement apartment at 111th Avenue and 143rd Street, was found around 11 a.m. lying on the ground in the backyard of the property with her head cut open, police said.
Investigators then found her 61-year-old landlord Eulith Reid in a first-floor bedroom with a self-inflicted wound to his neck and a machete nearby, according to the police.
Both were rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where they were declared dead, according to investigators.
Neighbors watched in horror as homicide detectives combed the scene and brought out the weapon and the victims.
“A young man just came flying out to me and asked to call 911,” said a home health aide who was working at the house opposite the crime scene at the time of the murder and asked not to be identified.
Police did not officially give a cause for the deaths, but several neighbors said they may have resulted from a feud between the two.
The landlord and tenant had been arguing over the woman’s overdue rent for several days, according to several residents. One of the neighbors, who had been a good friend of the landlord and asked not to have her name made public, said the arguments were heated and sometimes took place outside in front of everyone.
The neighbor said the landlord’s behavior shocked her because she never knew him to be violent.
“He was a quiet man, but sometimes with people you don’t know what can happen in situations,” she said.
The neighbor said the landlord had a wife, but she was not sure if the tenant was living in the basement alone.
The killings took place just down the block from Queens Academy High School, but the school was closed for Election Day.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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