New York

Man Arraigned on Murder Charges in Hammer Attack That Killed Mom, Sister, Friend

What to Know

  • A mother, her daughter and her daughter's friend were bludgeoned to death with a hammer in a house in Hempstead, police said.
  • A fourth victim was beaten but escaped and flagged down help, police said.
  • Bobby Vanderhall, the son and sister of two of the victims, is charged with the murders.

A man appeared in court Sunday to face charges of second-degree murder in the hammer attack deaths of his mother, sister and his sister's friend. 

Bobby Vanderhall, 34, was also charged with attempted murder in the hammer attack of another friend of his sister who escaped the bloody rampage at the Vanderhall house on Perry Street in Hempstead. 

Police say Vanderhall had been kicked out of his mother's house, but returned early Saturday and used a large hammer he found in the garage to break in. 

He is accused of using the hammer to beat to death his mother, Lynn Vanderhall, 58, his sister, Melissa Vanderhall, 29, and her friend Janel Simpson, also 29. 

"The family right now is distraught," said Juanita Johnson, a cousin of the Vanderhalls, on Saturday. "We in shock."

The survivor, who wasn't identified, was hospitalized in stable condition. Police said she was also 29 years old. 

Denis Simpson said his daughter had worked late as a secretary at Northwell Health and then went to her friend's house to hang out. 

He described his daughter and her friends as fun-loving women who went to Carnival in Trinidad and were planning to visit Cuba in the fall. 

"These girls don't give problems, these girls just have fun," Simpson said. 

Bobby Vanderhall, who police described as more than 6 feet tall and at least 230 pounds, was arrested within 2 miles of the house, police said. He was asleep in his car. 

He had been arrested previously, including for DWI and sexual abuse, Fitzpatrick said.

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