Prosecutors say a New York man who broke into an elderly Boston resident's apartment, slashed his throat, and then ate his food and slept on his couch, leaving the body to be discovered during a well-being check the next day, has been arrested for murder.
Dion Pelzer, 30, of Brooklyn, was charged Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court with murder and on a fugitive from justice charge out of New York. He was ordered held without bail and is scheduled to return to court on April 12 for a pre-trial hearing.
According to the Suffolk District Attorney's Office, surveillance video shows Pelzer entering a secured apartment building on Martha Road in Boston's West End around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 15. He can be seen taking an elevator to the 11th floor, where video shows him trying to enter several apartments. He then took the elevator down to the 10th floor before returning to the 11th floor to continue testing doors.
The victim, 75-year-old David MacDonald, often left his door unlocked so neighbors and Meals on Wheels could bring food without him having to get up and open the door, prosecutors said. They said Pelzer entered MacDonald's apartment and slashed MacDonald's throat. He then ate MacDonald's food and went to sleep on his couch.
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Around 8:40 the next morning, neighbors knocked on MacDonald's door, which was closed and locked, and received no response. Prosecutors said surveillance video shows Pelzer leaving the building around 9:13 a.m. after stealing MacDonald's wallet, credit cards and keys.
Boston police responded to a call for a well-being check at the residence around 11 a.m. that day and found MacDonald unresponsive inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neighbor Maria Hanson just learned Tuesday how her friend of nearly three decades was killed.
"I Just hope he was asleep. That's all. That he didn't feel anything," she said. "I don't know what to say. He was such a sweet guy."
Boston police issued a warrant for Pelzer's arrest Friday after investigating the surveillance footage and other evidence. On Monday night, police were called to a disturbance at Tufts Medical Center and detained a man after a violent struggle who was later identified as Pelzer.
"Everyone's really scared, because that night before, people were complaining because someone was trying to open doors," a neighbor who did not want to share her name told NBC10 Boston.
She said the intruder followed someone into the building and started jiggling door handles to find one that was unlocked.
Police were called, but she says they couldn't find him.
"It's crazy, because the police came, and nothing happened," she said. "The suspect was obviously in someone's apartment and killed him."
Pelzer also has a warrant out of Brooklyn for a Jan. 23 knife assault that left the victim with numerous injuries.
“Everything about this case is terrifying, from this man surreptitiously entering a secured residential building, to his testing the doors on numerous units, and, ultimately, to his brutal killing of Mr. MacDonald and his remaining in the apartment with the body until the next morning," Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement. "This is a tragic reminder of how important it is to be alert to a non-resident attempting to slip into a locked building behind you."
"He was a musician, he used to be in a band," Hanson said of MacDonald. "He was such a good guy, that's all I can say."