Suspect in disturbing murder of grandmother found beaten, bound in NYC apartment is building superintendent

The suspect arrested in the brutal murder of a 74-year-old grandmother found beaten and bound in her Upper West Side apartment is the former superintendent of the building who once served 20 years in prison for gutting a man, prosecutors revealed at his first court hearing Sunday, according to reports.

Lashawn Mackey, 47, of Brooklyn, was not arrested until Saturday – three days after 74-year-old Maria Hernandez was found with her hands and feet bound, and a gag shoved in her mouth face down in a pile of clothes inside her apartment on W. 83rd St. near Columbus Ave.

It was the victim’s sister, Maria Terrero, who told detectives she made the gruesome discovery around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and dialed 911. Terrero had gone to check on her just hours after the two attended a Broadway matinee and had an early dinner together that evening, NY Daily News reported.

Hernandez’s daughter reportedly had expressed concern when she was unable to reach her mother.

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“She was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful lady. I have no idea, I think I’m living a very bad dream right now,” Terrero told FOX 5 NY.

Upper West Side murder victim, Maria Hernandez, smiles in family photo.
(Hernandez Family/FOX 5 NY)

Prosecutors further detailed the crime at Mackey’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court Sunday.

“This is a particularly brutal homicide where the victim was found assaulted, bruised, beaten with her hands and feet bound together behind her back, lying face down under a pile of clothing in her bedroom,” prosecutors said, according to Daily News. “The victim died from homicidal asphyxia with accompanying neck compression.”

Lashawn Mackey, left, quickly ducks his head down while being lead out of the police precinct following his arrest for Maria Hernandez’s murder.
(FOX 5 NY)

Hernandez “had extensive injuries, including bruising and abrasions to her face, her arms, her back, and lacerations to both the vaginal and rectal areas,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal added, according to the New York Post. “This was clearly a premeditated crime where the defendant went to the basement prior to the assault to break into the super’s office and dismantle the security surveillance systems located therein.”

Prosecutors revealed that Mackey is a career criminal who was sentenced to 23 years in 2000 after being convicted of first-degree assault. Rosenthal told Judge Felicia Menin that the victim was stabbed 15 times and left lying in the middle of a Brooklyn Street with “his intestines hanging out of his body,” The Post reported.

Mackey was released in 2019 after serving nearly 20 years in prison. Mackey returned to prison in October 2021, but he was released a month later, according to state records. He was arrested in August for grand larceny, burglary and petit larceny in Brooklyn, a crime for which he pleaded guilty on Dec. 21 and was expected back in court next month for sentencing.

Maria Hernandez, a 74-year-old Dominican immigrant, was found beaten, bound and gagged insider her Upper West Side apartment.
(Hernandez Family/FOX 5 NY)

While finishing up parole for the 1999 assault, Mackey got a job in Hernandez’ building. FOX 5 NY reported that investigators said he was working on the day of the gruesome killing.

CBS News reported that investigators initially said the apartment had no signs of forced entry.

Mackey and his attorney claim he is not responsible for Hernandez’s brutal slaying.

“Look for the DNA results at the scene of the crime!” he yelled to reporters outside the 20th Precinct Saturday, according to the Post. “Ask them for it!”

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Mackey’s attorney, Jessica Horani, reportedly told the court Sunday that there was no surveillance video placing her client on the third floor of the building near the scene of the crime. Authorities say the building’s surveillance systems had conveniently been sabotages ahead of the murder.

“He stands before you emphatically denying the accusations against him,” Horani added, according to Daily News. “I don’t believe that people have significant evidence in this case.”

Mackey was newly charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of burglary. He was ordered held without bail after the hearing.