A Brooklyn woman decapitated and dismembered a mother of four and then scattered her remains in pieces across Long Island over a measly $200 dispute, authorities and neighbors said Thursday.
Leah Cuevas viciously hacked away at the 27-year-old’s neck and torso — cutting off her head — during a dispute over money inside a Brownsville apartment building July 5, officials said.
“No, Leah! What you doing?” a neighbor heard Chinelle Latoya Thompson Browne’s gut-wrenching scream during the fatal attack. “Oh, no! Oh, no! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
Cuevas cursed back at Browne, telling her to “Shut the f— up,” according to court documents.
“The scare in (Browne’s) voice was like nothing I ever heard before,” a witness told detectives.
The bitter hatred between Cuevas and Browne was sparked by a dispute over rent and utility payments, court documents show.
Cuevas, 42, charged Browne $400 a month for a room inside her dead uncle’s Sumpter St. apartment, but wouldn’t provide hot water or reliable electricity, court papers say.
The Guyanese immigrant, who came to the U.S. just a year ago, refused to pay Cuevas $200 for electricity she wasn’t getting, neighbor Donald Watson, 49, told the Daily News.
“(Browne) was tired of paying for lighting and having it go out, or the refrigerator going out and spoiling the food,” Watson said. “(Browne) said she wanted to take her money and move out but the landlord said, ‘No.’ She wanted the $200 . . . but Browne said, ‘I need the $200 to move out.’”
Browne also accused Cuevas of having sex with a man on a city bus, allegations made in front of Cuevas’ husband, court documents show.
The conflict came to a grisly and tragic climax on July 5.
“That was the last time (Browne) was heard alive,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said.
On July 8, Browne’s severed legs and torso — which bore a tattoo that helped police identify her — were found in a municipal parking lot in Bay Shore near the Fire Island ferry. It was less than a mile from the home of Cuevas’ sister, prosecutors said.
The next day, an arm was discovered on the front lawn of a home in Hempstead. A second arm was found a day later.
Browne’s head was discovered on Boylston St. near Chamberlain St. in Hempstead on July 17, officials said.
Her weeping family cheered and raised their arms Thursday when a judge ordered Cuevas, who was charged with murder, held without bail during a court appearance in Central Islip.
Browne’s husband Dale and several family members flew from Guyana to attend the court proceeding. He said his wife was going to find an apartment so the family could move to the U.S.
“She made the sacrifice for her family. So we resolved together that we would make the sacrifice, as hard as it was, to do this,” he said. (NY Daily News)
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