A Hollis man was arrested Friday on charges he suffocated his live-in girlfriend during an argument last month, the Queens district attorney said.
Wayne Toppin, 42, was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing Shakesha Patterson, 29, in their home, at 109-36 205th St. in Hollis after an apparent fight March 23, the DA said.
Patterson was discovered dead in her home just before 11 a.m. by her stepfather, who had been tipped off by Toppin that something was wrong, police said. The stepfather called the police, who found Patterson's body in her bedroom, alongside a hastily scribbled suicide note, said officers who were still guarding the house as a crime scene the day after the attack.
The suicide note was later discounted, however, after the city medical examiner determined Patterson suffocated to death when an unidentified object was placed over her mouth, classifying it as a homicide, said agency spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.
Patterson had been seeing Toppin for about nine months, and the pair, along with Patterson's three children, moved into the Hollis home in January, said neighbor Lenton Todd in an interview with the TimesLedger after Patterson's death. Although Todd said he did not know the family well, he said he sometimes heard the couple fighting.
"Her mother said he was very jealous of her," said Todd, who lives at 109-32 205th St. "He didn't like her going anywhere without him."
More than a month ago, the couple had a particularly violent fight, said Todd, who heard Patterson screaming as Toppin yelled at her to shut up.
And while Patterson and her children, ages 12, 9 and 8, seemed friendly, Toppin did not, Todd said.
Toppin was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens Saturday and was remanded into custody, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. He was scheduled to return to court next week, she said.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2003 Community News Group
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