A man believed to have fatally bludgeoned and stabbed a beloved, elderly Massachusetts town employee has been arrested and ordered held without bail.
Leedell Graham, 48, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murdering 82-year-old Patsy Schena, according to the Essex District Attorney's Office.
Graham, represented by Attorney Jeanne Early, was arraigned in Haverhill District Court Friday where the judge ordered him held without bail. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for August 1.
Schena was found unresponsive in his Groveland home on June 21 and died of blunt- and sharp-force trauma.
Graham knew the victim through "various business dealings," Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said at a news conference Friday, but did not elaborate. He said the suspect is known in the community.
Graham was seen on surveillance camera entering Schena's home minutes before Schena, then leaving shortly afterward, a prosecutor said in Haverhill District Court Friday, during Graham's arraignment.
Investigators also found items that link Graham to the crime, the prosecutor said, including a lamp that police believe to be the murder weapon and the handle of a knife — the other end of which was found at the house.
Schena's family issued a statement Friday morning thanking both the local law enforcement agencies working on the case and the Groveland community.
"We are especially grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. We request privacy from the media at this time as we lay our beloved father, and grandfather, to rest," the statement said.
Groveland Police Chief Jeff Gillen described the crime as "shocking" and said Schena was popular, well known and a "gentleman."
"He was well-liked by everyone who met him," Gillen said. "I personally knew him and it’s cut to the core of our community, this horrific crime."
Schena retired four years ago and worked as the town's building inspector since 1979. His death was the first murder in Groveland since 1992.
Graham was held overnight at the Middleton House of Correction.