A Chelsea man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegedly murdering his 88-year-old landlady after she was apparently “driving him crazy” about making repairs, authorities said.
Felix Melendez, 35, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on charges including first-degree murder and robbery, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office. He was ordered held without bail.
Prosecutors said Melendez, who lived above Hilda Devincenzo in her three-family Chelsea home, was doing electrical repairs for her on July 3. Melendez allegedly told a neighbor that Devincenzo was “driving me crazy” with all of the repairs that she wanted, according to prosecutors.
The same neighbor later told investigators about hearing running, a scream and a bang from Devincenzo’s apartment. Prosecutors said that’s when Melendez strangled the elderly woman to death.
What’s more, prosecutors allege that Melendez took jewelry from Devincenzo, including her engagement and wedding rings. The wedding ring was later traced to an Everett jewelry shop. The owner provided a copy of Melendez’s driver’s license that he used to complete the sale, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said a search warrant led them to find the engagement ring in Melendez’s apartment.
Devincenzo’s body was found July 7 after fire crews responded to a small fire inside the home and were asked to perform a wellness check.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.