Owner told to clean up property where man allegedly beaten to death
The Milford Health Department served a notice of violation last week against the owner of a property where a man was found dead May 19, and the city attorney’s office filed a motion for contempt against the owner for failing to clean up the site following a 2010 order determining it was an illegal junk yard.
There was human waste on the property at 409 Woodmont Road when it was inspected May 22, three days after Ricky Garcia, 57, is accused of beating to death 49-year-old Christopher Peckham on the adjacent property at 583 Anderson Avenue.
The Health Department violation notice states that an inspection found “a white vehicle on the property with cluttered interior heavily soiled with human waste; a bucket filled with liquid and solid human waste; human waste on the ground surface; heavily soiled clothing and blankets in several locations.”
The property owner, listed as Gary Becroft, managing member of 409 Woodmont Road LLC, is ordered to clean up the property of weeds and garbage, and to remove containers holding human waste and “dispose of properly.”
Milford police are very familiar with the Anderson Avenue and Woodmont Road properties cited in the violation, where the attack allegedly took place May 19. In the previous four weeks, police had been called to the address five times, for a variety of reasons — two breaches of peace, a theft from a motor vehicle and two medical calls.
Situated in the midst of light industrial buildings near the intersection of Woodmont and Pepe’s Farm roads, the property is split into two parcels: a half-acre plot with a Cape Cod-style house where the assault allegedly took place, and a one-acre property behind the house dotted with old cars, a small barn and a rusted, metal-roofed garage. The Metro-North railroad tracks run behind it.
Both properties are owned by Becroft, who lists his address at the home.
Becroft, who could not be reached for comment, has been described as a good guy who helps out people down on their luck. One man who lives there said a total of five people lived in the house. Police said others were found living in vehicles outside. One of them, a woman who had been living there for two years, was convinced to get medical attention.
The Health Department’s notice of violation orders the discontinuation of defecating and urinating on the ground or into containers, vehicles and structures without functional plumbing facilities, and cleaning and sanitizing all areas contaminated by human waste.
“The Health Department coordinated with officials from other city departments, including the Planning and Zoning, Police Department, Fire Department and Human Services, as well as social service agencies (Beth El and Bridges) in response to various reports of possible unsanitary conditions at the properties located at 409 Woodmont Road and 583 Anderson Avenue,” Milford Health Director Deepa Joseph wrote in an email.
She said the violations found on the property amount to a public health nuisance.
Jennifer Paradis, executive director of the Beth-El Center, which serves the homeless, said her agency also responded to the property this week.
“We did join a team of partners to ensure that anyone who is in need of shelter or food on that property is aware of and has access to the services Beth-El Center provides,” Paradis said. “I cannot get into specifics of who was engaged and what was discussed but we are there to offer education to all and support to whomever is in need. This is a part of the ongoing collaboration with all of our community partners.”
The Fire Department installed about six smoke detectors in the house Friday.
The City Attorney’s office filed a Motion for Contempt in Superior Court May 23 based on the owner’s failure to clean up the junk yard and remove unregistered vehicles, as previously ordered by the court.
The motion states that in 2010 Becroft was ordered to remove all unregistered vehicles, excessive wood and brush, miscellaneous metal posts, tanks, concrete blocks, antenna, broken and/or dismantled fencing and other unidentifiable items from the premises.”
He was ordered to discontinue the burying of vehicle parts on the property and to remove vehicle parts previously buried there.
The motion requests that Becroft be directed to immediately clean up the property.