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Massachusetts Woman Allegedly Stole $40,000 From Ex-Landlord, Beat Him To Death
Prosecutors alleged that Xiu Fang Ke stole $40,000 from her ex-landlord, Leonard Garber, by forging checks and then beat him to death when he confronted her.
A Massachusetts woman allegedly bludgeoned her former landlord to death with a hammer after he caught her forging tens of thousands of dollars of checks in his name.
Police found Garber’s body wrapped in a curtain under construction materials and other heavy objects in the front hallway of his Newton home on Sept. 27 — the day after friends and family reported him missing. Officials said it appeared the man had died from blunt force trauma.
Police had gone to the Garber’s home on Monday, shortly after his loved ones requested a welfare check but were initially unable to locate the man’s corpse. They returned twice on Tuesday, only locating Garber’s body the second time.
The body was placed “in such a way to conceal it from people coming into the home,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a press conference on Wednesday, and may have been there for about a day prior to its discovery, according to prosecutors.
“There was a very concerted effort on the part of the defendant to conceal the body in the entryway or the hallway into that apartment,” Ryan told reporters.
Ke was arrested on Wednesday morning.
Prior to the alleged murder, prosecutors believe that Ke and Garber had been socializing with one another. Surveillance footage from outside Garber’s home showed an Asian woman — later identified as Ke — entering his home multiple times in the days leading up to the discovery of his body.
Ke was a friend and former tenant of Garber’s at a separate property he owned. Officials were unable to immediately specify whether the pair were romantically involved.
“We’re still looking at that but apparently they’ve been friends since that time several years ago when she was a tenant,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in response to questions.
Prosecutors, however, alleged that Ke had been forging checks from her friend Garber’s accounts prior to his death and had taken upwards of $40,000 from the senior citizen. Garber, they say, learned of the alleged forgery sometime between Thursday and Saturday
He was “struck and killed” by Ke when he confronted her about it, prosecutors claim.
Under questioning, Ke allegedly confessed to using a hammer to beat her former landlord to death.
“During the interview, the defendant admitted that she had stolen checks from Leonard Garber and that she had killed him,” Assistant District Attorney Julie Kunkel stated in court Wednesday, NBC News reported. “She later stated that she had used a hammer and hid his body in the location where it was eventually found by police.”
According to prosecutors, Ke also admitted in a group chat that she’d stolen from Garber to pay back outstanding gambling debts. Officials claim there’s also evidence she’s forged checks before.
“The defendant sent out a message on a group chat admitting that she had stolen the money, that she owed gambling debts and that she wanted to end her own life,” Kunkel added.
Massachusetts State Police and Newton Police Department also assisted in the investigation.
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said Garber was an active community member.
“I personally express my condolences and I speak for the people of Newton: our hearts and prayers are with you,” Fuller said at Wednesday’s press conference. “He attended synagogue here with friends and neighbors who knew him and cared about him. You too are in our thoughts.”
Fuller further noted that Ke is “also known in our community.”
“I want to acknowledge as well that this is a disturbing and difficult time for those who know her,” the mayor added.
Ke is being held without bail at a South Middlesex Correctional Center, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. Attorney information wasn’t immediately available for her.