Housekeeper of elderly Jamaican couple charged for fatal home invasion
Screenshot of video showing 45-year-old murder suspect Suzette Troutman being escorted by New York police on Monday. (INSET: Waldiman and Ethlin Thompson)
New York police have nabbed the suspected mastermind behind the Brooklyn home invasion that left a 91-year-old Jamaican immigrant dead and his 100-year-old wife hospitalised.
She has been identified as 45-year-old Suzette Troutman, who shopped and kept house for the elderly couple the past two years. Troutman was arrested on Monday and has been charged with second degree murder and two counts of assault and burglary.
Her nephew, 27-year-old Dwayne Blackwood, was arrested and charged last Friday in the highly publicised case.
Reports are that thieves invaded Waldiman and Ethlin Thompson’s home in Brooklyn on October 11, and tied the couple with cords before rummaging through the house and escaping with US$5,000.
Ethlin reportedly managed to subsequently free herself and call for help.
Upon the arrival of the police, Waldiman was found still bound and lying on the floor unresponsive with his face smothered with a pillow and blanket. He died of a heart attack.
Troutman has been described as the mastermind behind the deadly break-in, who had inside knowledge of the Thompsons’ moves and used it to her advantage.
“She took care of the Thompsons. She used her trust to betray them and commit this crime,” Assistant District Attorney Bernarda Villalona was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying.
“The defendant is the key to planning this home invasion. She had the knowledge and the trust. She caused his death.”
There is evidence of Troutman dropping off Blackwood and another robber in a car at the Thompsons' home, prosecutors claimed.
The horrific attack sent shock waves across New York City. A crowd of people last Friday gathered outside the New York Police Department’s station while Blackwood was being processed for the crime and hurled insults at him as he was being escorted out.
“You Punk. You coward. You’re lucky the police are here!” were among the words onlookers shouted.
Police are still looking for other suspects including a man seen in photos released by the NYPD last week. The images were reportedly captured by a video recording near the Thompsons' home around the time of the crime.
The NYPD is offering a US$10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.