Landlord shocked to learn tenants charged in killings

tenantriskverification July 11, 2012 0

By Bob Kalinowski

It’s a nice little house, owned by a nice old lady who lives next door.

Early Saturday morning, heavily armed police barged in Rear 178 E. Ridge St. and nabbed two suspects wanted for a triple homicide in Plymouth.

Neighbors say they’re stunned. The woman was a tough, hands-on landlord who took over the family homestead with pride – and strict rules. She wouldn’t even let unwed couples move in together. Also, they say, the home, a block from the city police station, did not seem like a problem property – not the place two murder suspects from Philadelphia would end up.

“This is as much of a shock to me as it is to you,” the landlord, Margaret Romanofski, 81, said Tuesday.

Romanofski, who lives in and owns an adjacent triple-unit apartment building, said she never saw the two suspects, Shawn Hamilton, 18, and Sawud Davis, 16, who police say stayed there only a matter of days.

Police have identified the tenant of the rental unit as Benyall I. Richardson, 30, who was not home during the raid and had not returned since. He was arrested in Nanticoke on Tuesday night on unrelated charges.

Saying she was upset and not feeling well, Romanofski, an avid church-goer and retired nurse, politely declined to speak much about any lease agreement for the property in the rear.

“He pulled one over on me,” she said.

“The people were happy over the years. We didn’t have any problems with our tenants in all the while,” she added, noting that the properties were in her family for generations and always problem free.

Most neighbors agreed.

They said Romanofski had a long-term tenant in the rear apartment for nearly 20 years, but she moved out two years ago and Romanofski struggled to find a reliable, trustworthy replacement tenant, having to evict several.

“She’s definitely not a slumlord. The property is kept nice. The garbage is out on time. The bills are paid,” JoAnne Mera, 54, said. “I never saw anything suspicious and maybe she didn’t either. I felt bad for her when it happened.”

Nanticoke police say the only time they were called to the home in recent memory was when Romanofski told police she no longer wanted Richardson living in the home. Police told her that was a landlord-tenant matter that would have to be resolved in magisterial court.

One of Romanofski’s tenants said he lived in his apartment for 11 years and she is the best landlord he ever had.

“It seems she got duped,” said the man, who did not want to give his name.

A woman who lives across the street said she was shocked to hear the address where the murder suspects were arrested. She said her daughter had previously considered renting the home, but it was not big enough for her family.

“I thought they had the wrong house. I was like, ‘Are you sure it’s not West Ridge?’ I was so surprised. It’s not a dump. It’s clean. It was well kept,” she said. “It’s major shock. This woman, she’s older, for her to have that happen to her, I feel bad.

Source : citizensvoice

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