“You can call me Marceline.”
The 83-year-old alleged serial killer who was born Harvey Marcelin but now identifies as a lesbian named Marceline Harvey is quick-witted, flirtatious and sometimes terrifying when explaining her anger management issues — and her two identities — from behind a glass wall at Rikers Island.
“Harvey’s not a good guy, he’s a tough guy,” she said. “Marceline’s nice and gentle and loving, you know, lots of laughter, fun to be with. She’s the one who’s perfectly normal.”
The killer, who served more than 50 years in prison for murdering two girlfriends — one in 1963 and one in 1985 — is now accused of a fresh homicide, the gruesome dismemberment of 68-year-old Susan Leyden.
In a 55-minute jailhouse interview, she said she’s in touch with both her masculine and feminine sides, but her male persona gets her in trouble. Though Marceline wore a wig and lipstick after her most recent release from prison in 2019, she said she’s housed in the men’s unit at Rikers.
She pleaded not guilty on March 30 to charges of first- and second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a human corpse in the death of Leyden, a former jewelry designer from Teaneck, NJ, who reportedly struggled with mental illness and drug addiction in recent years. Marceline said the two met in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village and that Leyden was among her “coven” of women.
“It got to the point where I was ruling the park,” said Marceline, who was released from the upstate Cayuga Correctional facility in 2019 on lifetime parole. “A lot of women claimed ownership of me. I was the queen. It’s a very magical park, you know.”
Her problems in the past, she said, arose when girlfriends took her for granted or disrespected her. She’s always been attracted to women and vice versa she said. But it doesn’t always end well.
“There’s a point where they want to rule me and they take advantage of my softness,” Marceline said. “They misinterpret it. They start henpecking me.”
Her feminine side, she says, helps keep a lid on Harvey — sometimes. But her women friends provoke her into “violence,” she said.
“I tell them — there’s a side of me you don’t want to see… but they don’t listen.”
She was candid when asked what it feels like to erupt in rage.
“Well, sometimes it’s liberating you know, ” Marceline said. “You get all that dirt out, you know, the pent-up stress. You can let your macho side come out. It isn’t what you want it to come out, though. You’re covering it up by being a woman because you don’t like this male with this male rage. You don’t want that person loose.”
Of the two identities, she said she prefers Marceline but laughs when asked about Harvey.
“He’s a pimp,” she said. “You like him, don’t you?” She then suggested a Post reporter go with her on a date to Anton’s wine bar downtown, presuming she beats her current rap.
Marceline admitted to The Post that she did kill her two previous girlfriends. But she insisted she did not chop the head and limbs off Leyden in February as charged, even though police have video of her shopping in a motorized scooter while sitting atop Leyden’s severed leg.
“I’m being framed because of my rap sheet,” she said. She leaned forward, showing the flashes of anger that surfaced at times and contrasted sharply with her otherwise feisty and jovial manner.
A psychiatric examination by three doctors at Bellevue in 1963 concluded she had “schizoid personality with sociopathic features” but was not deemed criminally insane nor psychotic. A hospital record from 1962 suggested she might have “delusional grandiosity,” “suggestions of chronic schizophrenia” and “paranoid reaction personality.”
Leyden was one of three women who occasionally crashed at Marceline’s East New York apartment. One of the trio, called Jillian, is reportedly cooperating with the police; the other one, according to Marceline, is the murderer.
“She was jealous of Susan,” Marceline said.
She added that while it’s too bad that Leyden is dead, she resents how the deceased is being presented in the press.
“She wasn’t no Mother Teresa,” Marceline said. “They make her look like a saint, like a sweet little darling.”
Leyden’s dismembered body parts were found in several locations around Brooklyn last month. Surveillance footage showed Leyden, who lived in an LGBTQ senior center in Fort Greene, entering Marceline’s East New York apartment on Feb. 27.
That was the last time she was seen alive.
Prosecutors allege that Marceline discarded a black shopping bag containing Leyden’s torso later that week.
The victim’s head and other limbs were discovered in Marceline’s apartment, along with blood, cleaning supplies, a hammer and the box for an electric saw, prosecutors said.
Police found one of Leyden’s legs near a garbage can about three blocks from Marceline’s home on March 7.
During her two previous prison stints she often acted as her own lawyer in a number of lawsuits — asking for new trials, complaining that one all-female parole board was “sexist” in denying her release in 1997, and trying to get in on a class-action suit because she was at Attica state prison during the 1971 riots.
She admitted to a parole board in 1997 that she “had problems with women.”
She told The Post that she first dressed up as a woman for Halloween when she was 13 or 14.
“It felt so good,” Marceline said. But her feminine side remained “latent,” she added, until she met a transgender inmate at the Auburn state prison in 1993 who encouraged her to start taking Premarin hormone therapy.
Marceline has also been vocal about not being allowed to have tarot cards in prison and complained again during the Post interview that she wants her current deck, which is in her apartment.
She said she doesn’t like her current lawyers, who are public defenders.
One of her attorneys, Andrew Friedman, said he had no comment and hung up on a Post reporter.
Harvey Marcelin was born in Manhattan in 1938. Her mother was a seamstress and her father, who died when Harvey was 10, was a shipping clerk. Her parents grew up in Harlem but later moved to 158th Street in Washington Heights.
“They spoiled me,” she said. “My mother was soft-spoken and tried to raise me. I was just cantankerous. I was an only child.”
She traces her childhood trauma to a daycare center at St. Aloysius Catholic Church on 132nd Street in Harlem, which she said was run by strict nuns who whipped her, sexually abused her and forced children to eat bad food.
“My mother had to literally drag me there, I’d be pleading, ‘No no no,’” she said. “One time I ran away but they chased me down the street and caught me. They treated me bad. Very bad. So I think I flipped there.
“Intellectually, I’m all right but emotionally I’m tore up.”
A court record shows that Marceline was first examined by a psychiatrist at the age of 14, apparently at the behest of Catholic Charities, and had been involved in “truancy, theft, heterosexual and homosexual activity and cross-dressing.”
Marceline’s life of crime began with assorted felonies like burglary in 1957, according to court records.
On April 18, 1963, Marceline went to her girlfriend’s apartment in Harlem and shot her in the hallway with a .32 caliber revolver. Jacqueline Bonds ran into her bedroom where she was shot again. She staggered into the living room, where she collapsed and died. Three bullet wounds were found in her body.
Marceline was married to a woman named Florence Jackson at the time. There are no records immediately available showing that they divorced and The Post was unable to locate Jackson.
According to a court document, six weeks before the shooting, Bonds told Marceline that she wasn’t going to go out with her anymore.
“[Marceline] pointed his finger at Jacqueline and said, ‘I’ll get you!’” according to Bonds’ mother, who witnessed it.
Bonds was murdered the same day she was supposed to appear in court to bolster Marceline’s alibi in an attempted rape case. (The charges were later dropped.)
Marceline killed Bonds, she told The Post, not because of rejection but jealousy.
“She was very popular,” she said. ” And I had images of her just being nice to somebody else. Yeah, sexually, you know. She was beautiful. I didn’t want anyone else to have her.”
Marcelin was sentenced to 20 years to life for Bonds’ murder and got out on lifetime parole in 1984.
A year later, she was arrested for murdering another live-in girlfriend, Anna Laura Serrera Miranda. She chopped Miranda up into pieces, put her remains in black bags and dumped them near Central Park. She told a Manhattan judge that Miranda had been late with the rent.
“I was very nice to her but then she’d go out for two or three days and I didn’t know what she was doing,” she said.
Did she kill her?
“Well, yeah,” she told The Post.
Marceline pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six to 12 years in 1986. But because she was still on lifetime parole for the 1963 murder, she was denied parole for more than two decades for the second murder. She recalled being overjoyed when she was granted parole in 2019.
“That was orgasmic,” she said. “Lord, I never thought I’d get out.”
When asked how she managed to win release, Marceline laughed again.
“By sucking ass!” she said.
Her next court date is April 19 and Marceline wants the world to know she needs a better lawyer — and some good food.
“The food is nothing,” she said. ‘You get these half-cooked sliced potatoes. I don’t know where to get the bread and a little pad of butter and this questionable dietary jelly that’s probably donated from a potter’s field somewhere.”