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Who Is Jamison Bachman, The Serial Squatter Who Terrorized Renters Before He Killed?
Jamison Bachman knew tenancy laws well enough to weasel his way into homes and make his roommates' lives a living hell.
A serial squatter terrorized dozens of roommates before carrying out a shocking 2017 murder.
The story of Jamison Bachman begins with a man named Jed Creek, a prospective tenant who responded to a Craigslist ad about an apartment rental in Philadelphia. Jed described himself as a lawyer who wasn’t currently practicing law when responding to Alex Miller, a Philadelphia woman seeking a roommate.
Miller’s nightmarish experience with Jed Creek would become a New York Magazine feature titled “Worst Roommate Ever,” the basis for the upcoming Netflix series of the same title.
Shortly after the pair’s first meeting, things moved quickly: Jed signed a check and moved in that very night. Despite Miller’s repeated requests, Jed never filled out the application for a background check. Soon, he moved in his cats (which Miller was allergic to), removed the lightbulbs from the home, and began rearranging the furniture and hoarding the dining room chairs in his room.
Bachman soon made it clear that he had no intentions of handing Miller any money.
“We agreed he would share the cost of paying the bills,” Miller says in the Netflix series. “When he laughed at me, it was sinister.”
It was Alex Miller’s mother who traced his phone number, revealing that Jed Creek was, in fact, a man named Jamison Bachman.
“He was a serial squatter who had terrorized roommates up and down the east coast,” says Miller. “And he was living in my house.”
It turned out Bachman had enough of a law background (and years’ worth of exploiting it) to use tenancy law to his advantage. He was able to refuse to pay rent at a series of apartments that unsuspecting tenants let him move into. As chronicled in the series, Bachman had a pattern of weaseling his way into homes using various sob stories (an ailing mother, the girlfriend who kicked him out, a brother with financial problems). For several months he'd appear to be a perfect housemate before he showed his true colors. Bachman would steal furniture. He would clog his roommate’s toilets with cat litter. He seemed to want to make life so unbearable for his roommates that he’d force them to leave their own homes.
But Bachman's signature scam was refusing to pay rent and then refusing to leave. Cracks in the legal system made it virtually impossible for roommates to evict him from their homes.
One such roommate was Arleen Hairbaedian in Queens, New York. Their arguments became physical, and they took out restraining orders against eachother. In one instance, Bachman grabbed Arleen by the throat. For several years, Hairbaedian was essentially a prisoner in her own apartment.
He would do the same to Alex Miller down the line.
When Hairbaedian finally filed to have Bachman evicted from the apartment, he retaliated by making a statement to police that she came after him with a knife, something she tells the documentary producers never happened. Eventually she was forced to leave her own home and two cats behind.
Bachman later took Hairbaedian's cats to local kill shelters.
Others, like Sonia Acevedo of Rockaway Beach, also said Bachman was prone to violent outbursts. Acevedo rented a room to Bachman when she took pity on him in 2012, but she later had to guard her door with a chair for fears that Bachman would hurt her.
“Now this person who I thought I knew is just next door in that bedroom, and I’m in this bedroom, " Acevedo says in the documentary. “And he could snap at any time.”
Netflix examines Bachman’s background through interviews with family friends and acquaintances, giving viewers a glimpse into why Bachman turned into a man who was capable of ruining so many people’s lives. An allegedly “brutal” father and Bachman’s witness to a shockingly violent murder in college seem to shape the man Bachman would become.
Perhaps these traumatic events could explain why Bachman would eventually become a killer himself.
In November 2017, Jamison Bachman was charged with killing his own brother, Harry Bachman, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
According to the District Attorney’s office, there were signs of a “violent struggle” before Bachman allegedly stole his brother’s car and fled to an Upper Moreland Township hotel.
“How dare he,” said Alex Miller. “First, he ended up destroying himself. Then he killed his brother, the only person in the world left to help him.”
Jamison Bachman hanged himself on Dec. 8, 2017, at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.
"Worst Roommate Ever" premieres on Netflix on March 1.