‘Worst roommate ever’ turned out to be a killer
A woman has told of the nightmare of living with a ‘serial squatter’ who ended up being a killer.
When Alex Miller, a 31-year-old living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, advertised a spare room in her apartment on Craigslist, she could never have imagined the ordeal she was about to go through.
Two weeks after listing the room, a man in his sixties who said his name was Jed Creek came to have a look around with his dog and told Alex that he needed to find a room as his family, who lived nearby, were sick and he needed to care for them.
He claimed to be a lawyer from New York and the two of them agreed to live together so he moved in immediately and wrote a check for $800.
Alarm bells should have rung when she saw there was no name or address on the paper but when the money cleared into her account the next day she thought nothing of it.
He brought his dog and his cat but rather than move a bed into the room to sleep on, he just threw some blankets on the floor and slept on them.
The two settled into a routine together and seemed to be getting on well, until Alex asked Creek to pay his half of $140 utility bill, telling her that the money covered the period before he even moved in.
When she pressed him to pay, he text her: ‘We can handle this in court if you prefer’.
But then things started to get weird.
He took all the lightbulbs out of the communal living room for his lamps and took the six dining room chairs to fashion into a makeshift desk.
He used excuses like a dirty plate left out or a cigarette butt in the toilet to refuse to pay his rent, and claimed it breached the ‘warranty of habitability’.
As things began getting worse and worse, Alex’s mother became concerned and asked for his phone number so she could do some research.
When she googled it, she discovered that his name wasn’t Jed Creek, and he was in fact a serial squatter named Jamison Bachman.
Bachman had attended Georgetown University and the University of Miami, where his teachers said he had ‘remarkable talents’ but he failed his bar exam meaning his legal talents were of use to no one but himself.
Alex’s mother found two articles about how he tried to evict a woman named Melissa Frost from her home in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
He told her that his home had been destroyed and he had nowhere to go, but began using his legal knowledge of tenancy laws to have her removed.
He was the nightmare tenant and she spoke of how he kicked in doors, scuffed up her floors and repeatedly clogged the toilet with cat litter.
When New York magazine writer William Brennan heard about Bachman he found over a dozen people who he had moved in with and then became a serial squatter and tried to have them removed from their homes.
A few days after Alex’s mother discovered Bachman’s true identity she let herself into her daughter’s apartment and he screamed at her.
But when she said: ‘This is my daughter’s home, Jamison,’ his face went pale.
He knew that his pretense had been found out.
Alex then used masthead paper from the law firm she worked out to write him a letter saying that the authorities had been made aware of his actions and he had to leave, and she decided to throw a party with her friends called ‘A send off for serial-squatter Jamison Bachman’.
They played rap music, which Bachman hated, and he eventually left the apartment, dumping cat litter in the toilet as he went.
Ignoring advice from her concerned friends, Alex stayed in the apartment for the night, but in the morning Bachman attacked her, held her up against a wall by her throat and and sliced her thigh open with a serated knife.
Alex called the police and Bachman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
When Alex went through Bachman’s belongings she found a box with bullets and a cleaning kit for a 0.380 caliber pistol.
Despite his violent crimes Bachman was bailed out of jail by his brother, Harry.
Harry was a successful architect and lived in a suburban town with his wife, Caroline, and children.
Their parents were disappointed that Bachman, who was four-years-younger than Harry, hadn’t flourished like his brother, and Bachman resented him for this.
Despite their fall outs, Bachman asked to stay with Harry after he was not allowed back to Alex’s apartment, but Caroline refused.
Harry was supposed to meet his wife in upstate New York later that night but was instead brutally murdered by the brother who he had bailed out of prison.
A police report of the murder says that Bachman was waiting at Harry’s home and beaten to death.
When police went to the house they noticed a trail of blood leading up the path and Harry’s body was found at the bottom of the stairs, with head injuries and a cut on his ear.
Police said Bachman killed Harry, stole Caroline’s car and an American Express card, and drove seven miles to rent a room at a nearby hotel.
He paid for the room with his brother’s credit card.
When police found him he surrendered and was charged with murder but before he could stand trial he hanged himself in his cell at the Montgomery County prison.
The deaths of the Bachman brothers unsettled Alex, and left her feeling wracked with guilt.
But his death meant that she did not have to face him in court and was able to move on with her life.