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N.Y. man kills mother, sister, 3rd woman with hammer, police say

| Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, 10:33 p.m.
Nassau and Hempstead police investigate the scene of a homicide in Hempstead, N.Y.,  on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.
Nassau and Hempstead police investigate the scene of a homicide in Hempstead, N.Y., on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — A man with a history of “emotional issues” used a hammer to bludgeon his mother, his sister and another woman to death in his Long Island home on Saturday, police said.

Bobby Vanderhall, 34, was arrested on three charges of murder in the early morning deaths of his mother, Lynn Reichenbach-Vanderhall; his sister, Melissa Vanderhall; and Janel Simpson, who was visiting the home.

The three women were found dead inside the Vanderhall's Hempstead, N.Y., home of “blunt force trauma” about 2:15 a.m., authorities said.

A fourth woman survived the assault and is hospitalized.

Vanderhall's mother had recently kicked him out of the house, Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the Nassau County police homicide squad, told Newsday.

“When he came here last night and it looked like the doors were secured, he became enraged,” Fitzpatrick said. “He went to the garage. He obtained a large hammer. ... With this framing hammer, he broke through the basement door.”

Vanderhall then found his mother in the living room and started to bludgeon her with the hammer, police said. They said he then attacked the other women. The three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Vanderhall had a history of “emotional issues” and had on two occasions been taken from his mother's home to a medical center, Fitzpatrick said.

Vanderhall's behavior had become more troubling recently, leading his mother to obtain an order of protection against him, authorities said.

It was not immediately known if Vanderhall has an attorney.

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