Authorities in Philadelphia have charged a 14-year-old girl with the murder of a 59-year-old Army veteran and animal rescuer who was found beaten to death and partially bound in his bed last week.
Al Chernoff’s alleged killer is in custody after being observed on surveillance video roaming around inside the man’s home the day of the murder.
The teen is charged with murder, robbery, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and possession of an instrument of crime. Her name has not been released because she has not been formally charged as an adult.
According to investigators, Chernoff was discovered dead in his bed early on Tuesday morning. They believe he was killed Monday night.
In addition to being physically assaulted, Chernof was slashed in the chest during the attack that killed him.
The teen suspect turned herself in to police on Thursday, after authorities released the footage of her walking around Chernoff’s home before washing her hands in the kitchen sink and sifting through the refrigerator.
The teen remains in custody without bail.
Chernoff was known throughout his community as an active animal rescuer, and had nearly a dozen cats at the time of his death as well as several turtles and frogs.
Speaking to reporters, Philadelphia’s Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter called the murder “extremely troubling,” adding “It was a very brutal murder.”
Chernoff, an avid biker who rode motorcycles, was employed by the city, but was said to be looking forward to his retirement.
His friend, Angelo Ruffo, hailed Chernoff for his generosity and kind spirit.
“Al was literally like one of the best people I’ve ever met,” Ruffo told NBC10. “Anything you needed he would do. He was known for building shelters for all the feral and stray cats in the city. He was a good man.”