Female coordinator of homeless shelter butchered beyond recognition with an ax by resident

Leah Rosin-Pritchard, a beloved Vermont homeless shelter coordinator known for her “good karma” and “good energy,” was brutally murdered on Monday, allegedly by a mentally disturbed, ax-wielding shelter resident whom she’d been trying to help.

Rosin-Pritchard was found dead at the Morningside House shelter after the authorities received a call around 9:30 am Monday morning about someone being attacked with an ax, according to court documents reviewed by local station WPRI.

Upon arriving on the scene, the authorities reportedly found Rosin-Pritchard, 36, suffering from severe-enough injuries to the face, neck and torso that she was immediately pronounced dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, the authorities reportedly spotted shelter resident Zaaina Asra Zakirrah Mahvish-Jammeh, 38, wiping blood off her hands with a paper towel.

Mahvish-Jammeh had requested a meeting with Rosin-Pritchard right before the attack, according to a court affidavit filled out by Brattleboro Police Detective Sgt. Greg Eaton.

“A short time later, Rosin-Pritchard joined Mahvish-Jammeh in the living room. Within a few minutes, [her colleagues] heard screaming. When they ran to see what was happening, [Mahvish-Jammeh] was attacking Rosin-Pritchard with an ax. They tried to yell at [her] to stop, but they were afraid to get too close since she was still swinging an ax,” the affidavit reads.

Thankfully, the entire attack was caught on a surveillance camera.

“Surveillance video from the residence shows Mahvish-Jammeh entering the building wearing a sheet over her clothing, hiding what appeared to be the murder weapon. The video also shows her hitting Rosin-Pritchard with the ax and stabbing her with a knife,” the Brattleboro Reformer reported, citing Eaton’s affidavit.

After the attack, Mahvish-Jammeh reportedly removed her clothes.

“After the murder, she takes off the overalls and is wearing a bunny ear headband, blue socks, grey sweatpants and black slipper style footwear, but continued to carry the ax around the first floor,” Eaton’s affidavit reads.

(Source: Video screenshot + Facebook)

Some of the attack was witnessed by at least one fellow Morningside House resident.

“It was a f–king brutal, savage f–king murder. I haven’t been able to sleep. Because every time I close my eyes, I see that s–t,” the anonymous resident told the Brattleboro Reformer.

“I heard screaming. I come down the stairs. I look around right by where the dining room table is, and there’s a body on the floor, and I couldn’t even tell who it was. That’s how badly smashed the face was,” he added.

Hovering above her was Mahvish-Jammeh.

“She looked up at me and then went down to beat [Rosin-Pritchard] a couple more times in the face,” he revealed.

Regarding Rosin-Pritchard, the unnamed witness praised the work she used to perform.

“She bent over backwards to go out of her way to help people,” he said.

However, he was critical of the shelter’s management, whom he accused of having failed both residents and staffers like Rosin-Pritchard by doing nothing after Mahvish-Jammeh had allegedly attacked him twice in the past.

“[Mahvish-Jammeh] has severe mental health problems, and they put her in a house that’s not equipped for that and the staff aren’t trained for that,” the man said.

“I told them two months ago, this was going to happen, and they didn’t listen. It was just a matter of time before she grabbed a butcher knife. The only thing I was wrong about was her choice of weapon. It should have never happened, and now a good person is dead,” he added.

This place is not set up for people with mental problems. I’m not against these people coming back out in the public and trying to get their life together, if they’re doing their medication and doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but don’t put them in with other people that don’t have their issues,” the man continued.

During Mahvish-Jammeh’s first court hearing, her public defender, Mimi Brill, reportedly indicated she may not be competent to stand trial. In response, Windham County Court Judge Katherine Hayes ordered a mental health evaluation.

Prior to her arraignment, she was charged with second-degree murder. But following the arraignment, prosecutors upgraded the charge to first-degree murder.

Speaking with local station WJAR, one of Rosin-Pritchard’s friends, Lisa Raiola, said that she’d been a good person.

“She’s somebody that just brings good karma, good energy, with whatever she does,” she said.

“It’s very hard to wrap your head around someone whose life was taken by the very person she was trying to help. She did not deserve that. A woman with so much good energy and great potential in her life,” Raiola added.

Libby Bennett, the director of development and communications at the Morningside House shelter’s parent company, Groundworks Collaborative, concurred.

“She was a wonderfully strong, positive, beautiful and compassionate person who gave generously of her spirit and skills in support of all Morningside House residents and her professional colleagues. There are no words to express the depth of loss felt by her Groundworks teammates, and our hearts go out to her family and friends,” Bennett said to the Brattleboro Reformer.


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