Authorities say a fugitive entered an elderly man’s apartment and fatally cut him in the throat before serving himself a snack. Defendant Dion Pelzer, 30, ate food belonging to victim David MacDonald, 75, slept on the slain man’s sofa and left the next morning, according to the Suffolk County Prosecutor’s Office in Massachusetts.
Prosecutors said Pelzer was wanted in Brooklyn, New York, for cutting a person Jan. 23 with a knife, leaving the victim with multiple injuries. A few weeks later, on February 15, he walked up to MacDonald’s apartment building in Boston’s West End neighborhood. Surveillance footage showed him entering the secure building behind a resident around 9:30 p.m., authorities said.
“Pelzer took an elevator to the 11th floor, where video shows him trying to enter numerous apartments,” the prosecutor’s office wrote. “He then took the elevator to the 10th floor before returning to the 11th floor to continue testing the doors.”
MacDonald often left his door unlocked so neighbors and Good Samaritan services like Meals on Wheels could bring food without him having to get up and open the door, authorities said.
Prosecutors say Pelzer entered the apartment and committed the crime. Surveillance video reportedly showed Pelzer leaving the building around 9:13 a.m. the next day. He had stolen MacDonald’s wallet, credit cards and keys, prosecutors said.
MacDonald’s neighbors then knocked on his door, which was closed and locked, prosecutors said. No answer. Boston police performed a wellness check and found him. He was pronounced dead at the scene, they said.
Authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Pelzer on Friday, the prosecutor’s office said. Boston police found Pelzer in response to a disturbance at Tufts Medical Center, prosecutors said.
“Officers were looking for the suspect when they received a radio call to assist Tufts Medical Police with a move,” officers wrote. “Officers moved to the area of 37 Bennett Street to assist, and after a violent struggle the suspect was able to be handcuffed. Officers conducted a CJIS investigation of the suspect which revealed he had a murder warrant for his arrest. Officers also learned that the suspect was wanted by the New York Police Department.
Pelzer was held without bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 12.
“Everything about this case is terrifying, from this man surreptitiously entering a secure residential building, to testing the doors of numerous units and, ultimately, to his brutal murder of Mr. MacDonald and his stay in the apartment with the body until the next morning,” said Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden. “It is a tragic reminder of the importance of being mindful of a non-resident who attempts to slip into a locked building behind you.”
Boston police are asking anyone with information about the murder case to call homicide detectives at 617-343-4470.
Community members who wish to participate in this investigation anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers tip line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or texting the word “TIP” to CRIME (27463). The Boston Police Department will strictly guard and protect the identities of anyone who wishes to help this investigation anonymously.
For those who need emotional support or just need someone to talk to about distressing events in our community, the Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team (NTT) offers free private support 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at (617) 431-0125.
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