What to Know
Brooklyn home invasion victim 101-year-old Ethlin Thompson is testifying before a trial date is even set for the suspects in the case
She's being allowed to testify early because of her age and health; her husband, 91-year-old Waldiman Thompson, died in the break-in
The Thompsons' former health aide Suzette Troutman is accused of being the mastermind behind the Bed-Stuy home invasion last October
The 101-year-old Brooklyn woman was injured during a home invasion that killed her 91-year-old husband is testifying in an unusual hearing.
Ethlin Thompson was allowed to testify before a trial date has even been set because of her age and health. She was flanked on both sides, needing help to walk, as she left a Brooklyn courtroom Thursday after two days of testimony.
Inside, she has trouble understanding questions from the three attorneys representing the suspects in the case, who are all charged with murder.
Suzette Troutman, her former health aide, is accused of being the mastermind behind the Bed-Stuy home invasion that killed Waldiman Thompson on Oct. 11, 2017.
Troutman's nephew Dwayne Blackwood and friend Howard Morris are accused of carrying out the home invasion in which the couple had pillowcases thrown over their heads and were tied up.
Authorities have said two masked suspects broke into the couple's home, pulled pillowcases over their heads and tied them up, police said. The men then threatened to kill Ethlin if she wasn't quiet, according to court documents.
Ethlin Thompson was able to break free, escape and call 911 but when police arrived they found Waldiman Thompson unresponsive on the floor with a cord and sheet over his head, court documents say. He was pronounced dead after he arrived at Interfaith Medical Center.
Thompson described the terrifying night in court, saying, "Someone choked me from behind and said, 'I'll kill you, I'll kill you, I'll kill you.'"
"I know that I was tied up. God help me to get the scissors, it saved my life," she said.
All three suspects have pleaded not guilty. The judge Thursday offered them a deal of 15 years in prison. The suspects have until July to take the deal.
Neighbors said the Thompsons lived on the street for decades, and they were often seen sitting in their garden, waving to passersby.
"They're very nice, respectable people," said Sharon Lyons.
Ethlin and Wadiman sat side by side in front of their brownstone every day, giving compliments to neighbors -- together, always together, in the words of The New York Times.
"All they had was each other," their 34-year-old tenant Anil Lopez told the Times. He said he called them "Mom" and "Pops" -- and they called each other "honey."