PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s the first day of trial against a Philadelphia man accused of murdering a wheelchair-bound woman he was helping and then hiding her body in the basement for weeks while living in the home. The defendant says he’s “absolutely not guilty.”
61-year-old Elba Monroig’s body was found October 2017 partly decomposed, wrapped in bedding and duct taped inside her home on E. Madison Street near Frankford and Allegheny avenues in Kensington.
Prosecutors say Eric Mackey, who was living with the victim, bludgeoned her head with a hammer and hid her in a basement closet.
Monroig was ill and mostly wheelchair-bound. She was introduced to Mackey, who was just out of prison, so he could help her get around. But when she went missing, her family went looking for her at her home and was greeted by Mackey.
They called police when they couldn’t find her and they smelled a “distinct” foul odor in the home, which is when prosecutors say they found Monroig in the basement.
Monroig’s sister tearfully told the jury about the odd way she found the victim’s home, like missing and moved furniture. She says Mackey followed her and her son around the home as they first looked for Monroig, and they felt very uncomfortable.
The neighbor next door, who introduced the victim and the defendant, also took the stand and recalled the last time he saw the victim, which was when Mackey took her to the bank weeks earlier. He says he continued to smell something terrible, worse than a dead rat, get worse over the weeks.
Eventually, he says he and his girlfriend got in touch with the victim’s family who then called police.
During his opening statement, Mackey’s defense attorney told the jury there’s a lack of evidence in the case and they should “question everything” the prosecution brings forth, adding that in the end, they would have more questions than answers.
Testimony continues through the week.