Man sentenced for strangling his cousin, stealing her money, concealing body in bin


Nisaa Walcott, left, and Khalid Barrow, right (Mug shot from New York City Police Department; victim's photo via New York's WABC-TV/YouTube)

Nisaa Walcott, left, and Khalid Barrow, right (Mug shot from New York City Police Department; victim’s photo via New York’s WABC-TV/YouTube)

A man learned his fate this week for strangling his cousin and hiding her body for days while he stole her money, used her New York apartment, and impersonated her to conceal his crime.

Khalid Barrow, 23, was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison for killing his cousin, Nisaa Walcott, 35, according to a news release from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The woman’s son Omir Walcott, then 14, slammed the killer.

“My whole family is destroyed,” said in a tearful victim impact statement, the New York Post reported. “It’s been trauma after trauma. “It’s like it’s digging at my skin like someone’s nails just scratching.”

Acting Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward took him to task as well.

“It’s one of the saddest cases that I have ever presided over in that the defendant, in this case, had a family that was willing to be there for him all the time — and he clearly took advantage of that family,” Ward said, the paper reported. “What Khalid Barrow did to his cousin after her death was reprehensible. His actions indicated a callous disregard for not only the victim in this case but for the entire family.”

Barrow’s lawyer, Adam Freedman, said his client didn’t show up in court “because he, frankly, couldn’t face the extended family.”

Last month, Barrow was found guilty of murder in the second degree, concealment of a human corpse, grand larceny in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree.

“The defendant’s criminal conduct was an unspeakable betrayal,” said Bragg. “Khalid Barrow strangled his cousin in her own home, all for his own financial gain. I am amazed by the resiliency of Nisaa Walcott’s family members, who have persevered through the horrific murder of their loved one by her own cousin. They attended the trial every single day, listening to incredibly disturbing testimony. No sentence can undo this family’s pain, but I hope they continue to heal from this terrible loss.”

Barrow asphyxiated Walcott in her East Harlem apartment, tied up her ankles with a Wi-Fi cord, hid her body inside a plastic tub lined with fabric scraps, and placed the tub in a storage room before scouring the apartment with bleach, prosecutors said.

Authorities said he immediately began impersonating her, sending her 14-year-old son text messages from her phone, manipulating him by asking for her EBT account’s PIN and telling him to leave the door unlocked. He also impersonated her in texts to her co-workers and other relatives, prosecutors said.

After failing to rent a car to take her body upstate on Feb. 18, 2022, he moved the plastic tub holding her body to the roof of her apartment while he used her credit cards and accounts for pot, beverages and food, the news release said.

Days later, a relative concerned about Wolcott’s safety texted her phone to ask her to send him a photo so he knew she was OK.

“Barrow, using Nisaa’s phone, replied with an old photo that the relative recognized,” prosecutors said. “The relative contacted Nisaa’s son, whom Barrow — still impersonating Nisaa — instructed to say that everything was fine.”

Family members reported her missing to police the next day after realizing no one knew where she was. They noted the series of strange and uncharacteristic text messages in response to their repeated calls and messages.

“The language that was being used was like, wait a minute, that’s not my sister,” her brother Eugene Butler told Manhattan-based CBS flagship network WCBS.

The lack of a phone response was also telling, he said.

“No matter what she was going through, she always picks up the phone for me,” Butler told local ABC flagship WABC.

One of those reportedly “odd” text messages relayed the following to her surviving son. His mother was leaving on business, and she was leaving Barrow in charge of things. That purported state of affairs did not sit right with those who knew Walcott.

Police spoke with Barrow on Feb. 24, 2022, inquiring about Walcott’s whereabouts.

Hours later, early in the morning of Feb. 25, 2022, Barrow took the tub with Nisaa’s body to an area in the Bronx and left the container on the sidewalk. It was discovered that afternoon by a man who resells discarded personal belongings. He saw a human leg in a bin across the street from a storage facility.

As Law&Crime reported, the man said the bin appeared to be out of place and unaffiliated with that facility in the Bronx’s Highbridge neighborhood, according to the New York Police Department.

Authorities say they consulted surveillance footage from Walcott’s apartment building that showed Barrow entering the building with the woman and then later leaving by himself on Feb. 18, 2022.

A different video from later that day allegedly shows Barrow dragging a large plastic bin to the roof of the apartment building.

Around midnight seven days later, additional surveillance footage allegedly shows Barrow removing a large plastic container with the help of another man who has yet to be identified.

In yet more footage, a man can be seen dumping a storage bin in the Bronx, according to law enforcement.

“This is barbaric, very gutless,” Butler commented to WCBS. “The person who did this had to have been a person who had no soul because all she wanted to do was help this person.”

Law&Crime’s Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.


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