US man facing eviction from rental home, ‘killed’ landlord with axe and stashed body in woods

Jacob Morrill, a 24-year-old tenant from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, facing eviction from his rental home has been charged with murder after he allegedly killed his landlord with an axe blow to the head on the day of a scheduled court hearing. 

Morrill was arrested Monday. The police said that he even told investigators where they could find the body wrapped in a tarp stashed in the woods. 

US-based media reports mentioned that Morrill appeared before a judge Tuesday and was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder. 

As quoted, Police Chief Brian Peters said during a press briefing Tuesday: “We haven’t had an incident like this for a few years now, so it definitely is a shock to see that here in Portsmouth.” 

Local media outlets reported citing local police that the 50-year-old Xue Feng Wu had left his home in Tiverton early Monday to check on his property in the 1700 block of West Road that Morrill had been renting. 

Officers arrived at the area at 4:32pm (local time), after Wu had not been seen or heard from in several hours, and found Morrill. 

Morrill said that the landlord was at the property earlier in the day and Wu had gone to court in Providence. 

Wu was meant to appear in court that morning to evict Morrill, but it wasn’t until after 6 pm (local time) on Monday that police arrested him. 

Morrill was detained and allegedly revealed the location of the victim’s body.

Police said that the victim’s body was found in the “rear wooded area” of the rental property “wrapped in a tarp and held down in place by a section of wire fencing and other objects in an area of brush off the pathway.” 

The police said that Morrill and Wu allegedly had a fight inside a garage at the rental property, during which the suspect allegedly grabbed a “small handheld axe” and hit Wu in the head, killing him. 

While speaking to reporters, Portsmouth Police Chief Brian Peters said that “it definitely is a shock to see that here in Portsmouth.” He said there had not been an incident like it for “a few years now”. 

In the press release, cops said: “The Portsmouth Police Department extends our sincere condolences to Mr. Wu’s family for their tragic loss.” 

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