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February 22, 2018

Philadelphia judge to squatter in viral roommate story: 'You're frightening'

Investigations Rent
West Philadelphia Row Home Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Vibrant rowhomes with large porches are a common sight in West Philadelphia.

New York Magazine may have just profiled the worst roommate story ever – and a Philadelphia-area native is right at the heart of it.

Published Wednesday, the feature tells the tragic tale of Jamison Bachman and sheds light on the horrific experiences of those who shared their home with a highly educated and successful lawyer who needed a place to stay in short order – only to find they had let in a squatter who refused to pay the rent and gradually laid claim to their home.

"You’ve got your whole life in front of you. You’re pretty, and you’re talented, and you’ve got this house — well, you don’t have this house anymore. This house is my house," he allegedly told Melissa Frost, Bachman's former roommate.

Frost added that the experience "was like something out of a movie.”

When he took Frost to court in Philadelphia, Judge Marvin Williams reportedly told him, "I find you to be totally incredible. I don't believe a word you say – and frankly, you're frightening."

Before telling a number of old roommates' accounts, the story begins with the particularly striking story of Alex Miller, who had advertised her spare room at her apartment in Chestnut Hill on Craiglist. 

Miller tells of how she then met with a man who answered the ad, Jed Creek, and agreed to lend the room to him after they had hit it off. But she would soon discover that the tall, slim and handsome attorney was actually Bachman – a serial squatter with a checkered past.

The feature also ties in Bachman's older brother, Harry, an architect whose success would contrast sharply with the life of Jamison, whose life once seemed destined for greatness but had gone awry. Harry would occasionally let Jamison stay at his quaint, Colonial-style home in Elkins Park and had bailed him out of jail twice after being charged with assaulting Miller during their ongoing dispute.

It then tells Jamison Bachman's grisly end.

 In November, he allegedly went to Harry's home and beat him to death after Harry had refused to let him stay there after the second bailout. Jamison Bachman was charged with first- and third-degree murder after authorities apprehended him at the Fairville Inn & Suites by Marriott in Willow Grove. But a few days before a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 11, Bachman had hanged himself in his cell in Montgomery County jail. 

New York Mag's story widely circulated the internet and social media after it was published Wednesday morning.

Read the full story here.