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A Squatter Posed as a Landlord. He Ended Up Killing His Tenants After Trying to Charge Them More Rent.

Oregon Squatter Fatally Stabbed 2 Tenants He Was Illegally Renting To
Source: Portland Police Bureau; Multnomah County Detention Center; Portland Police Bureau

Phillip Nelson (center) found guilty in the murders of Cassy Leaton (left) and Najaf 'Nate' Hobbs (right).

May 1 2024, Published 4:02 p.m. ET

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An Oregon man who was squatting in an apartment building has been convicted of fatally stabbing two people he was falsely renting an apartment to.

On June 16, 2020, Portland Police officers responded to a residence in Portland about a possible stabbing, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.

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Once at the scene, officers found two victims — Najaf “Nate” Hobbs, who was pronounced dead at the scene, and Cassy Leaton, who later succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.

The suspect, 42-year-old Phillip Nelson, had fled the scene before officers arrived.

According to police, officers located Nelson two days later and booked him into the Multnomah County Detention Center on two counts of first-degree murder.

Court documents obtained by The Oregonian show Leaton and Hobbs’ roommate told police that they all believed they were renting an apartment from Nelson, who was actually a squatter in the building.

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Authorities said Nelson wanted more money from Leaton and Hobbs, but they refused. Nelson then started turning their water off.

Hobbs and Leaton went into the basement where the water valve was located, which is when Nelson stabbed Leaton multiple times in the upper back with a 12-inch handmade knife. He then stabbed Hobbs in the neck and chest, authorities said.

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While in court, Nelson reportedly confessed to killing the victims and admitted he was “poking the hornet’s nest” when he shut off their water, The Oregonian reported.

A jury recently found Nelson guilty of the second-degree murder of Leaton and the first-degree manslaughter of Hobbs.

Nelson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24.


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