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A resident of the building where a handyman was accused of murdering three elderly women said she never saw any “bad qualities” in him — and called the allegations against him “hard to believe.”
A 69-year-old woman who lived on the sixth floor of the Carter G. Woodson Houses building where the most recent victim, 78-year-old Juanita Caballero, was discovered with a cord around her neck Jan. 15 — said the alleged killer Kevin Gavin, 66, is well-known in the building.
“He runs around and helps everyone,” said the resident, who declined to give her name. “He fixed things for you. He took out people’s old furniture. He asked people for money. He would ask you to loan money and he paid you back. At least he did to me.”
“I don’t see any bad qualities,” she added. “I never saw him get angry.”
Gavin didn’t “have that tendency” to “push around” or hurt anyone, according to the neighbor.
“Even though they accused him, it is hard to believe,” she said.
The neighbor remembered Caballero as being “a sweet lady” who “didn’t let nobody in her apartment.”
Resident Nancy Poytejada said “everybody loved” Caballero — who she saw knocking on her alleged killer’s door only two days before her death.
“It seemed she trusted him,” Poytejada said in Spanish. “When they told me, I felt scared. I was surprised.”
Another resident, who lives on the 11th floor, said she feels “much safer” now that Gavin is in custody.
“But there needs to be more security cameras,” she said. “We need security cameras in the hallways and stairways.”
In addition to Caballero, Gavin allegedly fatally bludgeoned Jacolia “Jackie” James, 83, whose battered body was discovered by a family member.
He killed another elderly woman, Myrtle McKenny, at the housing project in 2015, officials said. She was fatally stabbed in the neck.
“She was so sweet,” the 69-year-old neighbor said of McKenny. “She always had a smile on her face. She loved to take a walk in the morning. She was the type of person you could she had a good heart from a mile away.”
Gavin’s arraignment was pending Friday.
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