The cost of housing has gone up a lot over the last couple of decades, even compared to inflation. That means more and more people have been rooming up together to cut their costs. But as just about anyone who’s had roommates will tell you, they can be a nightmare.
Some are messy, some are loud, some you just don’t get along with. But if they pay the rent on time it’s usually worth putting up with. But as one woman would find out, sometimes having a roommate can completely destroy your life…
In Need of a Roomie
Alex was in a rough spot. The 31-year-old’s roommate had abruptly decided to move out of their Philadelphia apartment shortly before an upcoming lease renewal. Already working two part-time jobs at a juice bar and filing paperwork for a nearby law firm, her finances were already strained before her rent suddenly doubled. She put an ad out in Craigslist as quickly as possible.
A Man Named Jed
About 2 weeks later, she got a response from a man named Jed Creek. Though he was 60, the tall, handsome Jed appeared to be 10 to 15 years younger. He’d brought his 13-year-old Border-collie Zachary with him when he showed up to tour the apartment and, as Alex showed him the apartment, the two got into a deep and enjoyable conversation…
Jed was an experienced lawyer and cultured man who’d lived in Europe and the Middle East, though he’d grown up in Philly. He was looking for an apartment in short order because his elderly mother and ailing brother needed him to help take care of them. As the conversation was winding down, Jed expressed an interest to move in as quickly as possible…
I Could Do This Now
“I like this place, and I like you. If you like me, I could just do this now,” Jed said as he took out his checkbook. Alex hadn’t expected to make such a quick decision but saw no reason to turn Jed down. As he wrote out the $800 check for his portion of the rent, it was a little strange that he’d put down the apartment of the address as his own and left the name section blank, but when the check cleared the next day, Alex didn’t give it any further thought…
Jed arrived that evening bringing with him 6 large Rubbermaid bins that contained all his belongings and a cat carrier containing a shy tabby named Abigail. Rather than bringing a mattress, he simply piled a bunch of comforters on the floor to sleep on.
Getting Along Fine
Despite his oddities, things went well at first and the two new roommates got along just fine, often drinking wine and watching TV together on the couch in the evenings. When Alex had a little trouble with a date who’d overstayed his welcome, Jed even came to her aid, barging into the room saying “She’s asked you to go, I’m asking you to go. I’ll ask you one more time, or I’ll remove you myself.” The man left…
Then, 11 days after Jed had moved in, things started to get weird. Alex showed Jed the latest utility bills and asked that he pay his half, $140 and change. Jed refused, saying they were from a period before he moved in. “We can handle this in court if you prefer,” he said. Alex thought he might be right about the dates but it was his tone and readiness to escalate the minor disagreement that was unsettling.
These Are Mine
After that, things got even stranger. Alex came home one night to find the lights in the living room wouldn’t turn on because Jed had taken out all the bulbs to use in the lamps in his room. A few days later, he took 6 chairs out of the dining room to fashion a makeshift desk in his bedroom…
We Have A Problem
Then one afternoon, when Jed found a cigarette butt floating in the toilet bowl, he told Alex he wouldn’t be paying next month’s rent. Referencing Alex’s job as a paralegal, he texted her “you should know about the warranty of habitability.” When Alex told her mother about Jed, she decided to look him up by his phone number. When she found 2 news articles about him.“We have a problem,” Alex’s mother said to her over the phone.
“Jed Creek is not who he says he is.” Jed’s real name was Jamison Bachman and he wasn’t a lawyer. He had gone to law school and exhibited great talent but after failing to pass the bar exam on his first try never attempted to take it again. In the time since, he put his legal ability to use by terrorizing roommates as a serial squatter…
The articles Alex’s mother found described how in 2012, Bachman had become the roommate of a woman named Melissa Frost after telling her a story of how he’d lost his home in Hurricane Sandy. After a short “honeymoon” period of being a perfect roommate, he turned and became aggressive toward her.
He scuffed up the floors, kicked down the doors, and clogged the toilets with cat litter. He would also refuse to pay rent, saying some minor thing — like a dish left in the sink — had “voided their lease.” “He went from being the cordial, polite person who understood he was a guest in my house to someone who was approaching me aggressively and flat-out saying, ‘This is my house now,’ “ Melissa said…
Including Alex and Melissa, Bachman had over a dozen victims and the pattern was always the same. He would get them to take him as a roommate with some sob story or another, then would make their lives hell by damaging the home, refusing to pay rent, and dragging them through lengthy legal proceedings.
A few days after Alex and her mother discovered Bachman’s true identity and past, she demanded that he leave her apartment and held a “send-off… for Serial-Squatter Jamison Bachman.” She invited over friends and they had Jameson whiskey while blasting rap music — which Bachman hated…
Partway through the party, Bachman dumped a box of kitty litter down the toilet and stormed out of the house with a backpack over his shoulder. After the party, Alex’s friends implored her to stay with them for the night but she stayed home. Early the next morning, as she was preparing for work, Bachman attacked her.
He came at her with a knife during the course of an argument, stabbing Alex in the thigh before she could retreat to her room and hide. Police arrested Bachman and charged him with aggravated assault and associated charges. Alex got a restraining order against him…
Bachman’s brother Harry bailed him out of prison but, despite his kindness, Harry bailing him out was another reason for Bachman to hate his brother. He was jealous of his older brother Harry, a successful architect, because he was their parents’ favorite. Harry had bailed out his brother but refused to let Bachman stay with him.
Missing In Action
That night, Harry was supposed to drive out to meet his wife in upstate New York. But when he didn’t show up and his wife was unable to contact him, she notified police. The first place they looked for him was at their home, where they saw a trail of blood leading from the sidewalk to the front door. Following “bloody drag marks” to the basement, they found Harry’s body laid out on the stairway…
When police located Harry’s Red Ford Escape in the parking lot of a hotel up the road, they found blood soaked towels inside. Someone had checked into a room under Harry’s name and, when SWAT officers stormed the room, they found Bachman inside.
Bachman was arrested for murder. Just days before his preliminary hearing, the roommate from hell turned killer decided he had nothing to live for and hanged himself in his cell. Alex felt a mixture of guilt and relief. She felt somehow responsible for being a part of the sequence of events that lead to the deaths of the two Bachman brothers, but relief that she wouldn’t have to deal with the trial or ever see Jamison again.