My godmother is the ex-girlfriend mentioned at the very end of the article in this newspaper clipping. When I was little I’d heard about this incident from my mom, but I was always kinda skeptical until I found this clipping at my aunt’s house shortly after my mom passed away.
At the time, my godmother shared an apartment in New York’s East Village with her boyfriend (the “karate expert” mentioned in the article, who I will refer to from here on as Karate Boy) and my mother and older sister. One night my godmother and Karate Boy were home alone and at some point dude spazzed out and tried to strangle my godmother. He must have made quite a ruckus because the lady who lived in the apartment next door, Marilyn Mackey, called the cops who showed up and arrested Karate Boy and I guess saved my godmother’s life.
When my mom got home the next day she saw that my godmother had bruises on her throat and around her neck. After getting the details, she fled the apartment with my sister and made my godmother leave, too. Karate Boy was released that same day or later in the evening. I guess he went home, found the place empty and spazzed even harder than he had the night before. He sneaked into the apartment next door (by way of the fire escape, I believe), where he killed Marilyn and her 9 year old son, Shaw.
The story doesn’t end there. After the police caught up with Karate Boy for the murders and took him into custody, he supposedly utilized his karate expertise to put beats on at least several officers and then managed to escape! Only thing I’m not sure about is if that happened on the street or at the precinct. I’m guessing the police handled him with a little more caution after that because he made no more great escapes.
The details in the article pretty much jibe with everything my mom told me about the incident when I was younger, from the martial arts to the group, Exuma, which I literally only just now noticed is also mentioned in the article. My mom seemed to think that Marilyn belonged to some sort of religious cult. As I am looking into the group now, it looks like Exuma was the band/stage name for musician Macfarlane Gregory Anthony Mackey (the father of Shaw), and the lyrical content of his music focused heavily on Obeah, which Wikipedia describes as “a term used in the West Indies to refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices derived from West African, and specifically Igbo origin“. Wow! And to think for all those years I thought moms was exaggerating! 😯
My mother also mentioned that earlier in the day before the murders, Karate Boy had heard chanting coming from next door, so he sneaked over on the fire escape and peeked in the window. He came back and reported that he’d seen a bunch of people standing around in black robes with candles lit, and that they were apparently performing some kind of ritual. Over the years I’d also heard that Karate Boy was ultimately lobotomized. I can’t confirm that but this article over at Wired seems to indicate that lobotomies were performed legally in the States until the 1980s, so I guess it really could have happened.
As you may have guessed, my godmother is still traumatized by the entire incident. She doesn’t like to talk about it but one thing I noted recently is that she refuses to watch plausible creeper horror / thriller flicks like The Strangers or Funny Games.
Here is a recent photo of 217 Avenue A (courtesy of Google Maps Street View):