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30th Sep 2022

Woman kills ex-landlord with hammer after he confronted her about forged checks, court hears

April Curtin

She apparently admitted to stealing his money and killing him

A woman allegedly beat her landlord to death with a hammer and wrapped his body in a curtain after he discovered she had stolen over $40,000 by forging checks in his name, according to officials.

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, of Newton in Massachusetts, US, was arrested and charged with murder on Wednesday in connection with the death of her former landlord, 65-year-old Leonard Garber.

The landlord had been reported missing by his family on Monday, and Newton police couldn’t find him when they visited his home. But officers visited his house twice the following day, when they found his body wrapped in a curtain underneath construction materials and other heavy items.

“Based on the preliminary assessment, it appears that the body may have been there for more than one day and that it had been placed in such a way as to conceal it,” a police statement said.

Police looked at surveillance footage of Garber’s house and spotted Ke going into the house in the days before he died. They believe Garber and Ke had ben spending time together and that Ke had “allegedly been forging checks from the victim’s accounts,” stealing over $40,000.

Garber is thought to have realised what was going on and allegedly confronted Ke, who “allegedly struck and killed him and then attempted to hide the body,” police said.

The 43-year-old was one of Garber’s tenant several years ago at a different property to where the attack took place, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Ke allegedly confessed to the killing Garber when she was called to police headquarters, NBC Boston reports.

Speaking in court, Assistant District Attorney Julie Kunkel said: “During the interview the defendant admitted that she had stolen checks from Leonard Garber and that she had killed him. She later stated that she had used a hammer and hid his body in the location where it was eventually found by police.”

Kunel also said: “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.”

Ke has been ordered to be held without bail.

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