Police: 83-year-old Leonard Pearson among 2 dead in separate slayings in Newark

Authorities are investigating two homicides in Newark, including

Authorities are investigating two homicides in Newark, including the beating and stabbing of an elderly man. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

NEWARK - Authorities are investigating two homicides in Newark, including the beating and stabbing of an 83-year-old man.

Leonard Pearson was found dead inside his Nevada Street apartment on Saturday night. The building is a high-rise, and is home to mostly senior citizens.

Investigators believe the motive may have been robbery, but they are still trying to determine who did it and when. A law enforcement source says the victim may have been dead for more than 24 hours before he was found.

The discovery came just days after a couple was assaulted in an elevator.

Residents at the complex say detectives remained on the scene Monday, questioning tenants and fingerprinting doorknobs.

While there are cameras visible outside the entrance and the building has uniformed security guards, some say they still feel vulnerable and want the building management company to do more.

"We need safety," says Willie Little. "We need it real bad because this is a senior citizens building. It should have never happened."

But Robert Burmel, who has lived in the high-rise for 17 years, says security is adequate. He believes the suspect knows someone in the building. "The building has a lot of security," he says. "Anybody who don't live here has got to show their ID and they have to look at the picture and they have to write it down. So whoever came had to be a visitor."    

Building management is not commenting on the incident or building security procedures.

Police say it is not clear whether the killer was buzzed in or not.

The second Newark victim, 29-year-old Yasin Bell, was shot on Elizabeth Avenue early Sunday. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities have not yet identified any suspects in the killings.

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