Harvey Marcelin was the center of gossip Saturday in Tompkins Square Park, where acquaintances marveled at the accused killer’s alleged ability to dismember a human being while in a wheelchair.
“She chopped someone’s f—ing head off. She actually severed someone’s head,” blurted Junior, a homeless man in the park frequented by the serial killer.
Marcelin, 83, is a transgender woman and two-time convicted killer charged this month with the gruesome dismemberment murder of Susan Leyden, 68, of Brooklyn, who will be laid to rest Sunday in Paramus, NJ.
“She was in a f—ing wheelchair,” said John Gallagher, 30, one of killer’s acquaintances in the East Village park.
“I don’t even understand how she did what she did to this last one. She’s so frail. Even disposing the body the way she did, she must have had some type of help.”
“I imagine it’s not that easy even with power tools to dispose of a body. It seems like a lot for an 83-year-old to do, in a wheelchair nonetheless,” said Gallagher, who claims Marcelin “once told me that she wished she had been born a goat and that she was a satanic witch. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Friends of the troubled Brooklyn woman allegedly brutally butchered by Marcelin are horrified the suspect was free.
“The person doing what it did deserved a death sentence, or certainly life in prison without parole,” said a lifelong pal of Leyden, whose dismembered body parts were found in several locations around Brooklyn last week.
Marcelin was charged last week with the concealment of a human corpse. She has spent more than 50 years in state prison for two past killings.
“It’s unspeakable (Marcelin) was free,” said the friend, who did not want to be identified.
Marcelin shot and killed her live-in girlfriend, Jacqueline Bonds, inside the couple’s Manhattan apartment in April 1963, according to sources, and fatally stabbed another live-in girlfriend in 1985 — stuffing her body into a bag dumped near Central Park. Leyden’s friend says she is unaware of any relationship she may have had with Marcelin.
Leyden’s barbaric death marked a tragic end to a deeply troubled adult life.
Leyden grew up in a “conservative Jewish upper-middle-class family” in Teaneck, N.J., where she tap-danced, took ballet, rode horses and graduated from Teaneck High School in 1972. She was “so cool and so pretty with her long blonde hair and boots,” wrote childhood chum Karen Leyden Gross in a Facebook memorial.
A picture of Leyden posted to the forum shows an attractive young woman with blond hair and porcelain skin wearing oversized sunglasses and low-cut bikini top. Another image shows an older Leyden with her daughter Nicole, now 36, at the Rockefeller Center skating rink.
Her life began to unravel when she lost her father and all three siblings in rapid order while in her 20s. Her now-deceased mother lived 1,000 miles away in Florida, her 16-year marriage ended in divorce in 1992, and she has long been estranged from her only child, the friend told The Post.
“She had no family. She was alone,” the friend said.
She did manage to run her own business, Jewels ‘n More in Fort Lee, NJ, for many years before closing the shop and losing touch with most of her old friends.
Leyden was living most recently at the Stonewall House, an LGBT-friendly elderly housing development in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where questions remain about her grisly death.
“I don’t know what to think. It’s tragic. It’s tragic and it’s sad,” a building resident said. “I don’t think (Marcelin) should have been out of prison. If she wasn’t rehabilitated she shouldn’t have been out. And she goes on to kill like that.”