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N.Y. man charged in mother’s killing

Associated Press / April 23, 2011

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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A man who neighbors say spent many years caring for his elderly mother strangled the 88-year-old woman with a necktie in their home, then attempted to commit suicide several hours later before calling 911, police said yesterday. Authorities also said he had secretly spent much of her money.

James Olsen, 56, was ordered held without bail on a murder charge during a bedside arraignment at the Nassau University Medical Center, said a spokeswoman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice. He did not enter a plea.

Olsen, hospitalized for self-inflicted wounds to his wrist, was represented by a lawyer from Legal Aid, which does not comment on pending cases.

Olsen’s mother, Ruth Olsen, was found dead inside the Garden City home she shared with her son when he called 911 shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday. Detective Lieutenant John Azzata, commander of the Nassau County homicide squad, said it appeared she had been strangled earlier that day.

Police said a preliminary investigation revealed the son, who is unemployed, had emptied much of his mother’s bank account over the years. Azzata said it did not appear that the woman knew of the financial situation; neighbors said she had been ill in recent years.

“We do not believe that mom was aware of this dollar loss,’’ Azzata said, adding that investigators had yet to determine the amount. “We believe he was conflicted over the amount of money he was spending and didn’t want mom to know.’’

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