A transgender serial killer is now being housed in the women’s facility on Rikers Island after being charged with the murder and dismemberment of a woman.
Harvey Marcelin, 84, who identifies as a transgender lesbian and uses the name Marceline Harvey, was arrested on March 4 for the murder of Susan Leyden, 68.
Leyden’s body was found in pieces scattered across the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cypress Hills, with her legs and headless torso being found on two separate days in March. The dismembered body’s proximity to Marcelin’s apartment led police to question him on the gruesome discovery as he was well-known as a murderer, having been convicted in the brutal deaths of two other women on two separate occasions in the past.
In 1963, Marcelin was arrested for shooting his then-girlfriend Jacqueline Bonds three times inside their Manhattan apartmet. He was sentenced to 20 years to life and was paroled in 1984. After his release, he went on to stab another female sexual partner to death, stuffing her corpse in a garbage bag and then dumping it on the street near Central Park.
Marcelin was arrested in 1986 for the second murder, but was once again released on parole in 2019. At the time, he told a parole officer that he had “a problem with women.”
Prior to the murders, Marcelin was accused of attempted rape when he was just 14 years-old; the allegation was made by a girl aged 8.
A 1963 psychiatric examination conducted by three doctors at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital concluded Marcelin had “schizoid personality with sociopathic features” but was not deemed criminally insane nor psychotic. A hospital record from 1962 suggested he may have had “delusional grandiosity,” “suggestions of chronic schizophrenia” and “paranoid reaction personality.”
While is unclear how Marcelin met his third victim, it appears to have been only shortly after he was released from prison in 2019. One of his many Facebook profiles reveals that he had communication with Leyden around that time, and appeared to become somewhat obsessed with her.
Marcelin used Leyden’s photo as his own profile image on more than one Facebook account and had repeatedly posted her picture to his Facebook pages. In October 2021, just months before Leyden was murdered, Marcelin responded to her with the comment, “Love personified.”
A recent New York Times article reveals Marcelin had been granted entry to the women’s shelter where Leyden resided, despite objections from the staff responsible for shelter intake. Anne Brennan, a nurse who oversees the intake of residents, told The New York Times that she had objected to Harvey being allowed entry to the women’s section of the shelter where Leyden resided — particularly in light of his long record of violence against women — yet her concerns were ignored by her supervisors.
“Apparently his feelings and identity were far more important than all the other women that were terrified of him,” Brennan said.
In April, Marcelin was reported as being housed in a male unit on Rikers Island, but records from the New York City Department of Corrections show Marcelin is now at the Rose M. Singer Center — Rikers Island’s only female facility. His birth sex is also listed as “female.”
The Rose M. Singer Center was recently the subject of widespread outcry after it was reported that a trans-identified male transfer had raped a female inmate after being housed there.
Ramel Blount, 33, approached a woman in the bathroom at Center on February 8, 2021. The victim had just finished showering when she was grabbed by her neck, held down, and sexually assaulted. Blount was convicted on lesser charges of attempted rape in April after accepting a plea deal, and was sentenced to 7 additional years in prison. The news of the assault only came to light following the conviction in May of this year.
Following his conviction, Blount appears to have been moved to the Elmira Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for males in Elmira, New York.
Still at Rose M. Singer is Alex Ray Scott, a trans-identified male currently awaiting trial for the killing of Kenneth Savinski, 64, whom Scott allegedly met on a dating app.
New York City adopted a policy on transgender inmates in 2018, with inmates being housed based on their self-declared gender identity unless the outcome of a federally required safety assessment or the preferences of the inmate require alternative housing.
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