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A Rhode Island Tenant Was Facing Eviction. Now, He's Accused of Killing His Landlord With an Ax, Hiding Body in Tarp.

rhode island tenant murder landlord ax
Source: Portsmouth Police Department; Unsplash

May 28 2023, Published 11:18 a.m. ET

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A Rhode Island man facing eviction has been arrested after he allegedly beat his landlord to death with an ax and hid his body under a tarp in the woods after the duo got into an argument, according to authorities.

Around 4:30 p.m. on May 22, the Portsmouth Police Department said they were contacted by the Tiverton Police and asked to conduct a welfare check on the victim, Xue Feng Wu.

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Wu reportedly left his home in Tiverton that morning to check on a property in Portsmouth and never returned home, officials said.

Officers went to the Portsmouth property and spoke with Jacob Morrill, 24, who allegedly said Wu had been there earlier but left to go to court in Providence.

Less than two hours later, police said Morrill reportedly called the station and informed them he “struck and killed Mr. Wu.”

Morrill told police he would meet them at a gas station near the property, which he did and was taken into custody, officers said.

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Police went to search the property and found Wu’s body on a path near a wooded area. His body was “wrapped in a tarp and held down in place by a section of wire fencing and other objects in an area of brush,” authorities said.

Officers noted Wu suffered “apparent severe injuries to his head.”

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Investigators determined Morrill and Wu allegedly got into an argument in the garage, and Morrill hit Wu in the head with an ax. Morrill then allegedly moved Wu’s body to the woods.

According to WPRI, Wu had been trying to evict Morrill and had a court hearing scheduled for the morning he was killed.

A search warrant was obtained by police and they were able to seize evidence from the home, including the suspected weapon, officials said.

Morrill was booked and charged with first-degree murder. He is being held without bail.


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