HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island man accused of bludgeoning his mother, sister and another woman to death after being kicked out of his home in Nassau County has made his first appearance in court.
34-year-old Bobby Vanderhall was arraigned Sunday on murder charges in the deaths of his mother, Lynn Reichenbach-Vanderhall; his sister, Melissa Vanderhall; and visitor Janel Simpson.
Suffolk County police say Vanderhall had a history of emotional problems, and his mother had gotten a protective order against him and had thrown him out of their Hempstead home. Police say Vanderhall used a large hammer to break through the basement door, then attacked the women.
Police said Vanderhall went to his mother’s home on Perry Street in Hempstead around 1:30 a.m. Saturday and became enraged when he found the door was locked.
Vanderhall then allegedly went into the garage and grabbed a hammer before entering the home through the basement, according to police.
After forcing his way into the house, police said Vanderhall bludgeoned his mother to death before proceeding up the stairs and doing the same to his sister. Police said he struck and killed Simpson once he got upstairs.
Vanderhall allegedly bludgeoned another one of his sister’s friends — 29-year-old Candace Murray — but she managed to fight back and escape the home.
Murray’s relative told CBS2 she is traumatized but recovering from her injuries.
“She’s in the hospital right now. She’s alright though, she’ll be fine,” he said.
Vanderhall fled the scene, but was found inside a parked car on private property a few miles away from his mother’s home. He was charged with three counts of murder and one charge of attempted murder.
Police said the hammer was recovered at the scene.
Relatives said Vanderhall was a friendly and athletic kid, but as an adult he suffered mental illness, which apparently got worse several years ago after the sudden death of his father, CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported.
Friends said his mother endured chilling run-ins with her son, which they described as out-of-control.
“She had always been there for him, being a loving mother, making sure he gets help and everything,” Johnson said. “She did her best.”
Domestic disturbances between the two brought people to the home at least twice in the past. Lynn obtained an order of protection against Vanderhall earlier this year, according to police.
Vanderhall’s criminal record included arrests for DWI and another for sexual abuse.
He was homeless after his mother kicked him out of the home on Perry Street, according to police.
The incident remains under investigation.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Vanderhall had obtained an attorney.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)