The 83-year-old accused of dumping a woman's body — missing a head, arms and legs — in a garbage bag on a Brooklyn street last week was seen on video sitting on top of a human leg while riding around in a motorized scooter, police said Friday.
Harvey Marcelin, who spent decades in prison for two prior convictions in the deaths of other women, was indicted Thursday on murder and other charges in the death of 68-year-old Susan Leyden. Leyden was living in an LGBTQ+ elder housing community in Fort Greene at the time of her death, police sources have said.
Police say the two knew each other, but the extent of their relationship isn't clear.
What is clear, police say, is that Marcelin was captured on video riding a motorized scooter -- and sitting on a human leg. A human leg was found blocks from Leyden's torso a few days later and hasn't been definitively linked to the same victim, but police sources with knowledge of the case did link the appendage to Leyden.
The NYPD shared video Friday that they say shows the motorized scooter, the leg under it. They say Marcelin is later seen on video on the scooter, talking to someone else in a store that sells clothing, among other merchandise.
The torso was found last week at the corner of Atlantic and Pennsylvania avenues, just outside a construction safety gear shop next to a carpet store, by a passerby who noticed the bag on his way to a friend's house in Greenpoint and decided to open it up when it was still there on his way home. He was the one to call 911.
A search warrant executed at Marcelin's apartment turned up a human head, according to a criminal complaint released Thursday, along with blades for a saw. Police sources say tarot cards were also found on a table inside the apartment, and investigators are looking into whether those played a role in Leyden's death.
The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how she died.
"Last week my office charged Harvey Marcelin with allegedly concealing the severed head of a woman in her home and discarding the victim’s torso in a bag on the street," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Thursday in announcing the indictment. "Today, the grand jury indicted Harvey Marcelin for murder, and my office is committed to vigorously seeking justice. The facts of this horrific case are gruesome and unsettling and my heart is with the victim’s family and friends."
According to prison records cited by the New York Post, Marcelin has twice been convicted of killings before. Marcelin spent more than 50 years in state prison on murder and manslaughter convictions dating back to 1963. Marcelin’s previous convictions were for killing live-in girlfriends, according to court documents.
A jury found Marcelin guilty of murder in 1963 for shooting and killing Jacqueline Bonds inside a Manhattan apartment. At the time, Marcelin was also facing an attempted rape charge involving another woman, according to court records.
The judge gave Marcelin life in prison after jurors were unable to agree on whether the crime justified the death penalty.
Marcelin was released on lifetime parole in May 1984, the Post reported, and cuffed again for allegedly stabbing another girlfriend less than a year later and leaving her body in a trash bag in the street near Central Park. Marcelin was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six to 12 years in prison.
State officials were reluctant to grant parole when Marcelin became eligible in the 1990s. During one State Parole Board hearing in 1997, Marcelin admitted to having “problems” with women, according to court records. Other boards rejected parole citing Marcelin’s “attempt to place the blame” on the victims.
Marcelin was released from prison in late 2019 on parole.
Police stress their investigation is ongoing. They said Friday they're looking back at similar missing persons cases since Marcelin's latest prison release to determine if there are any more victims. Marcelin is being represented by Legal Aid, which didn't immediately return an email request for comment Thursday.
Marcelin was refusing to talk with police after her arrest.