Homeless Woman’s Background Investigated
NEW YORK (AP) _ Police on Tuesday traced a homeless woman’s odyssey from a Florida pawn shop where she bought a $115 gun to the Manhattan office where they say she fatally shot an 80-year-old financier and a receptionist.
Lois Lang, 44, was charged with killing Nicholas Deak, chairman of Deak- Perrera U.S., the nation’s largest non-bank dealer in currency and precious metals, and Frances Lauder, 58.
After the killings Monday, police said Ms. Lang believed she was a part owner of Deak-Perera and had been done some financial injustice by Deak.
On Tuesday, law enforcement sources said Ms. Lang claimed she believed the government had given her Deak-Perera in the 1940s. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ms. Lang believed she had entrusted Deak with the company.
When Deak’s financial empire struggled - Deak & Co. filed for protection under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws last year - she became convinced he had mismanaged the firm and decided to kill him, the sources said.
Ms. Lang was arraigned Tuesday on two counts of second-degree murder before Criminal Court Judge Renee White, who ordered her held without bail and scheduled a hearing Nov. 25.
Murray Bernstein, one of Ms. Lang’s court-appointed lawyers, said there was no request for a psychiatric examination ″because there was no indication at this time that there was anything wrong with her mental faculties.″
Prosecutor Patrice Davis, asked the judge to hold the woman without bail, saying she had committed ″the senseless murder of two innocent victims.″
Ms. Davis also said there should be no bail because the case against the woman is strong, she has no roots in New York and because she reached for her gun when confronted by police.
Law enforcement authorities said Ms. Lang told them she arrived by bus in New York on Monday from Orlando, Fla. At about 9:30 a.m., she went to Deak’s Lower Manhattan offices and asked to see Deak. She was ushered out.
Police said she returned about two hours later and first fired two shots at Mrs. Lauder, hitting her in the head and killing her instantly.
When Deak came out of his office to see what was happening, she fired three shots, hitting him once in the heart, police said.
″Now, you’ve got yours,″ Ms. Lang said to Deak, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Alice McGillion.
Ms. Lang was arrested on the spot.
Ms. Lang told police she ″travels all over the country by bus,″ the sources said, although it is not clear where she got money for her travels or for the gun.
They said Ms. Lang, who apparently is single and has no known relatives, had gone to Deak’s offices four years ago and again four months ago.
Police said she carried a knapsack containing an aluminium baseball bat; $100 cash; several foreign coins; and a receipt indicating she had purchased the Charter Arms .38-caliber Undercover Special at the E-Z Money Pawn Shop in Orlando last Thursday.
A worker at the store who identified himself only as ″Bert″ said in a telephone interview that he could not recall selling the gun to the gray- haired woman.
The manager of the Orange Court Motor Lodge in Orlando - the address Ms. Lang gave the pawn shop and police - said she believed she remembered Ms. Lang.
Helen Balestra said a woman resembling Ms. Lang and carrying a backpack containing an aluminum bat asked for a room at there last Wednesday.
They could not agree on the price or length of stay and the woman left, appearing aggravated, Ms. Balestra said.
A funeral for Deak was scheduled for Thursday. A fund was established in his memory at Rockefeller University, according to Nancy Rivin, a company spokeswoman.
A funeral Mass for Mrs. Lauder would be said Friday.