Two Men Charged With Chopping Up Bronx Mom, Jeered by Crowd at Precinct

By DNAinfo Staff  on February 26, 2013 12:04pm  | Updated on February 27, 2013 7:22pm

MORRISANIA — The two men charged with dismembering the body of a 45-year-old home health aide, one of whom is the victim's son, faced a jeering crowd as police walked them from the 40th Precinct Wednesday night.

Dozens of local residents shouted and swore at Bahsid McLean, 23, and his 26-year-old friend, William Harris, who are accused with chopping up the body of McLean's mother, Tanya Byrd. Neither man has been charged with her murder.

"How could you do that to your mother?" screamed people in the crowd of about 40 onlookers outside the Bronx precinct.

The suspects ignored the taunts, with McLean looking up toward the sky and Harris staring down at the ground.

McLean and Harris swapped blame for the death of Byrd, whose remains were discovered early Tuesday, during questioning at the 40th Precinct stationhouse, according to sources.

McLean told cops under questioning that his friend killed Byrd "because she annoyed him" — but Harris gave a different tale, saying he only helped dispose of the body, sources said.

Byrd's body was found dismembered and strewn in bags blocks from her Bronx home.

McLean and Harris were charged with hindering prosecution and unlawful dissection of a human body, both felonies, and Harris was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of marijuana, police said.

McLean claimed he came home to the Westchester Avenue apartment he shared with his mother to find that his friend — a frequent visitor — had stabbed Byrd to death “because she annoyed him,” sources said.

But Harris gave a very different tale, claiming McLean admitted murdering Byrd before enlisting his help to dispose of the body.

Cops identified Byrd after McLean went to the 40th Precinct stationhouse Tuesday morning to report that she disappeared two days earlier, sources said.

McLean gave cops a photo, which they matched to Byrd's decapitated head, sources said.

When police entered the family's apartment, the strong smell of bleach overwhelmed them, sources said. Cops recovered a Sawzall, an electric power saw.

McLean's sister, Porsche Lovett, visited the precinct house Tuesday evening and said he appeared remorseless, according to reports.

"He looked me in the eyes and told me he did nothing wrong when he killed her," Lovett told the Daily News. "I don't know who he is."

McLean has a series of prior arrests, including a 2010 incident when he slugged two officers responding to a domestic dispute at a Brooklyn apartment, according to a criminal complaint.

He was brandishing a knife when they arrived, and when police told him to put it down, he lunged at them, according to the complaint. He shoved one officer into a nearby car, and punched the other, according to the complaint. Both of officers' faces were bruised and bloodied in the struggle.

McLean also spent seven months on Rikers Island from March to October of last year, Department of Correction officials said, though the details of that case were not immediately clear.

A relative who didn't want to be identified said Byrd feared McLean.

"She was scared of him sometimes, but she loved him," the relative said. "He's acted out in violent ways before, but I never thought he could do something like this. Not in a million years."

He would even set random fires, another relative told the News.

A neighbor who lived directly above McLean and Byrd said he often heard shouting coming from the apartment.

"You could hear them arguing, things being thrown," the neighbor said.

Byrd worked as a home health aide, according to neighbors. She also had a 23-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son with Down syndrome, neighbors and relatives said.

Stephanie Collazo, 24, who babysat the younger son for five years, said both she and Byrd were intimidated by McLean.

"She was always scared of him. He was very big, very aggressive," Collazo said. "The way he would look at someone, he had an evil look in his eye."

Collazo stopped babysitting the younger boy at his home after she saw McLean "making concoctions" and smoking coffee beans in the apartment's kitchen about three years ago, she said. From then on, she babysat the child at her own home.

Byrd's sister, Cassandra McLean, 49, told DNAinfo.com New York that Bahsid McLean had a troubled childhood.

"He had learning disabilities and he grew up in foster care," the sister said.

She said she spoke to Bahsid McLean by phone after Byrd was reported missing. He told Byrd's sister that he last saw his mother getting a ride to work from her ex-husband, whom she recently reconnected with.

“I spoke to her son,” the sister said. “That was the last time anyone saw my sister. No one has seen her since."

The sister said she believed the story because just over a year ago, Byrd booted her ex-husband from their home because he was abusive and threatening.

"I told my sister to stay away from him, but she said he's harmless and not to worry," the sister said.

Neighbors said the older son would watch the 6-year-old with Down syndrome when Byrd went to work.

"She's a good person, she's a good mom," one neighbor said.

"She was a loving mother and very devoted to her son," Cassandra McLean said. "That's what she lived for. That's her joy in life."

Barbara Womack, 56, another neighbor, said Bahsid McLean was "very quiet."

"He stayed to himself," Womack said.

"It was gruesome," Womack added of Byrd's death. "No one should have to go out like that."

With reporting by James Fanelli, Nicole Bode and Julie Shapiro

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