BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WPRI) — An arrest has been made after the brutal murder of a Rhode Island woman at a shelter in Brattleboro, Vermont, according to officials.
Zaaina Asra Zakirrah Mahvish-Jammeh, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder. She was arraigned in court Tuesday and held without bail.
Court documents say police responded to the Morningside House homeless shelter around 9:30 a.m. Monday for a report of someone being attacked with an ax.
Upon arrival, officers found coordinator Leah Rosin-Pritchard, 36, of Jamestown, suffering from injuries to the face, neck and torso. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers then saw Mahvish-Jammeh wiping blood off her hands with a paper towel, court documents said. The incident was captured on security video and witnessed by at least two other staff members.
Court documents say Mahvish-Jammeh went to a hardware store over the weekend where she bought a “Hunters Ax,” which police say was consistent with the ax recovered at the scene.
In a statement, the shelter said Rosin-Pritchard is “irreplaceable.”
“She was a wonderfully strong, positive, beautiful and compassionate person who gave generously of her spirit and skills in support of all Morningside House residents and her professional colleagues,” the statement read. “There are no words to express the depth of loss felt by her Groundworks teammates and residents. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and the broader Brattleboro community who knew her.”
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Rosin-Pritchard graduated from Rhode Island College in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She spent time interning at Amos House and the Izzy Foundation.
“Leah was an amazing person and we are devastated to hear of her death,” Amos House President and CEO Eileen Hayes said. “We will remember her as the smart, loving, and hardworking member of our team that she was. This is a terrible loss for all those who were fortunate enough to know Leah, and our thoughts are with her loved ones during this time.”
“Just a selfless soul who literally is just trying to help others, and that is exactly what she seemed to encapsulate, from what I’ve heard from everyone,” Izzy Foundation Executive Director Carla Mulhern added.
Before moving to Vermont, Rosin-Pritchard spent countless hours teaching lessons at Newport Cooks. Owner Mary Weaver remembered her as kind and compassionate and said she had a vast knowledge of food. Wednesday’s recipe was one of Rosin-Pritchard’s own creations: raw lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce.
“Cooking was really important to Leah, cooking and baking, and she would be happy we are sharing this with the kids,” Weaver said.
There are plans to have a cooking class in Rosin-Pritchard’s honor next month. All proceeds will go toward a local mental health organization, something Weaver said she would’ve wanted.