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Brooklyn Boy Killed in Fight Over a Dollar

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Police: N.Y. Boy Killed Over Dollar



NEW YORK (AP) - A troubled 13-year-old Brooklyn boy found beaten to death and stuffed in a closet earlier this week was killed in a dispute over a dollar, police said.


The grim details of Patrick Bhola's death came to light Thursday after an 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were charged with his murder and kidnapping.


Delon Lucas and Clarine Jones, both of New York's Brooklyn borough, allegedly beat and stabbed Bhola to death Monday inside an abandoned building where they and other squatters lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.


Investigators believe that shortly before the killing, Lucas and Bhola went to a bodega together to buy a ``loosey,'' slang for cigarettes sold individually, authorities say. Lucas put a dollar coin down on the counter, but it was snatched away.


When Lucas asked what had happened to it, the store clerk accused the boy of taking it, police said.


There was no confrontation at the store, and the two returned to the flophouse, where they were joined by Jones, to smoke marijuana, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


A short time later, Lucas and Jones accused Bhola of stealing the dollar coin, tied him up and then took turns beating him with a baseball bat, police said. They later confessed to fatally beating the youngster, police said.


Both suspects are in custody.


Bhola's death was the end to a troubled life that included brushes with the law. He allegedly shoplifted and stole bicycles, and had reportedly been arrested once in connection with a stabbing near his school.


Bhola's parents had been investigated by child welfare authorities on multiple occasions but had never been charged. His family had recently been evicted from their home, and Bhola had been living with two relatives in a one-room apartment.


Police also said they were investigating the department's response to 911 calls received before Bhola's body was found late Monday.


Authorities say they got at least five anonymous, untraceable 911 calls about a disturbance in the area before the discovery of the body. None mentioned a specific location.


A patrol car was sent to the area three times, but police were unable to find the house, and whoever made the 911 calls had vanished by the time officers arrived. Bhola's body was found more than an hour later, after a police officer met a local resident and an ambulance crew at the scene.


``We're looking into the 911 calls and what was transmitted to the police officers,'' Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday. ``It seems to me, the officers made a good-faith effort to respond.''

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