MANSFIELD — A former local man has been charged with killing his landlord with an axe in Portsmouth, R.I.
Jacob Morrill, 24, of Portsmouth, was ordered held without bail Tuesday after his arraignment on a first-degree murder charge in Newport District Court.
In a press release, Portsmouth police said Morrill admitted to hitting his landlord, Xue Feng Wu, 50, with an axe at the West Main Road home he rented from Wu.
Police said they went to the house for a well-being check for Wu after receiving a call from Tiverton police shortly after 4:30 p.m. Monday. Wu had left his home in Tiverton earlier in the day and had not been heard from since he left, according to police.
When police arrived at the West Main Road home Morrill rented from Wu, Morrill allegedly told officers that Wu had left the house to go to court in Providence. Officers had no other information to suspect any wrongdoing and then left the house, according to police.
About 90 minutes later, police returned to the home after they were told a crime had been committed at the house. About 10 minutes later, Morrill, who was not at the house at that time, allegedly called the police station and admitted to the desk officer that he struck and killed Wu, according to police.
Morrill offered to meet police at a nearby gas station where he was detained without incident after he arrived, according to police.
Police say he cooperated with them and led them down a pathway behind the house to a wooded area where Wu’s body was found wrapped in a tarp. Wu suffered severe injuries to his head during what police described as a confrontation in the garage at the property.
Morrill allegedly moved Wu’s body to the wooded area.
Police said they recovered the axe allegedly used to kill Wu and other evidence after obtaining search warrants.
“The Portsmouth police extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Wu’s family for their tragic loss,” police said in a statement.
Morrill, a 2016 graduate of Mansfield High School, used to live on Ware Street.
David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.