Newton woman charged with murder, theft in connection with former landlord’s death – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Newton, mass. (WHDH) – A woman suspected of killing her former landlord in Newton was charged on Wednesday as neighbors continue to process what appears to be the first murder in the town in 13 years.

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, was indicted in Newton District Court and accused of murdering 65-year-old Leonard Garber at his home.

Prosecutors claimed she was Garber’s former tenant and may have killed him late last week at a semi-detached house he owned in West Newton, where his body was discovered Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m really sorry that this could happen to Lenny,” said neighbor Pat Hamilton.

“I know my wife had a hard time with this, she woke up crying,” said another neighbor, Ron Cohen.

Garber was last seen on his home security camera reportedly entering the home on Mount Vernon Terrace last Thursday night. Police believe the same camera saw the woman suspected of killing him entering the home that same night, and again two days later with plastic gloves and a brown paper bag.

Garber’s brother reported him missing to Newton Police on Monday, but after three attempted visits, officers found a bloodstain on the property, which led detectives to his body, which a police report said was wrapped and hidden under several heavy objects.

Upon entering the home, police said they found Garber’s body wrapped in a curtain among building materials and several other items.

Based on a preliminary assessment, officers estimated the body may have been there for over a day and was purposely hidden. They also believe he suffered blunt force trauma and could have died the week before.

Police later determined that Garber had allegedly been spending time with a former renter, later identified as Ke. Subsequent investigations revealed that she allegedly forged checks from Garber’s account and stole thousands of dollars.

“MS. Ke allegedly forged checks from a joint account held by Mr. Garber and allegedly stole more than $40,000,” Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Officials said when Garber found out sometime between Thursday and Saturday last week, he confronted her before she allegedly hit and killed him and tried to hide the body.

Ke, who speaks Mandarin, listened to the charges through an interpreter while in court on Wednesday. She had previously been arrested at Newton Police Station without incident. She is said to have confessed to the police after her arrest.

“During the interview, the defendant admitted stealing checks from Leonard Garber and killing him,” prosecutor Julie Kunkel said in court. “She later claimed to have used a hammer.”

“I’m still like, ‘is this really happening?’, ‘is that her? Could it be a (misunderstanding)?” said Ke’s neighbor, Sahara Albayrak. “To be honest, I kind of don’t want to believe it.”

Albayrak told 7NEWS she never imagined the woman she described as kind and trustworthy could be capable of such a gruesome crime. She said they also spoke several times during the period police believe Garber was killed.

“Their behavior was completely normal, completely normal,” she said.

A police report obtained by 7NEWS also showed that Ke was accused of forging someone else’s checks and allegedly stealing $18,000 to pay off gambling debts in early 2022.

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Nate Jones

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