I’ve had enough of gun control politics for today. If you’re also looking for something else to read, this story at New York Magazine titled “Worst Roommate Ever” is one of those rare stories that actually lives up to the hype it has been receiving online. The whole thing is worth your time if you have 25 minutes or so but if not here’s the Cliffs Notes version.
A woman named Alex Miller put a listing for a room to rent on Craigslist. Miller’s previous roommate had left suddenly and she needed someone to help her meet the rent as she was only working part-time jobs. Enter Jed Creek. Creek responded to the ad on Craigslist and after a first meeting that went relatively well, Miller agreed to let him move in. He showed up the next day with his dog (which Miller knew about), a cat (which she didn’t know about) and half-a-dozen plastic bins full of his belongings.
At first, everything seemed to be going well. Creek even intervened one night when a man described as an “old hookup” of Miller’s overstayed his welcome. But less than two weeks after he moved in, things started to get weird:
Then, on April 5, their 11th day of living together, Miller showed Creek the utility bills and asked for his half, $140.80. Creek refused. The bills, he noted, covered a period before he’d moved in. When Miller pressed him, he texted, “We can handle this in court if you would prefer.” At first the escalation in tone jarred Miller. Looking at the dates, however, she second-guessed herself: Maybe Creek was right…
Hearing about Creek’s behavior, Alex’s mother asked her daughter for his phone number, then plugged it into Google. She found two articles and didn’t finish reading them before picking up the phone and calling her daughter. “Alex, we have a big problem,” she said. “Jed Creek is not who he says he is.”
Creek’s legal name was Jamison Bachman. In 2012, Bachman had shown up at the home of a woman across town named Melissa Frost, claiming to be a New Yorker whose home had been destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Overcome with pity, Frost let him in — and nearly lost her house. In an expensive and frightening ordeal that dragged on for months, Bachman slowly laid claim to the space, using his intricate knowledge of tenancy laws to stay one step ahead of her. He scuffed up the floors, kicked down the doors, and clogged the toilets with cat litter. “He went from being this cordial, polite person who understood he was a guest in my house,” Frost said in one of the articles, “to someone who was approaching me aggressively and flat-out saying, ‘This is my house now.’ ”
It turned out that Jed Creek/Jamison Bachman had repeated this same pattern with a number of other people over the years. He always had a sob story to get himself in the door and then, after a couple weeks, he would start literally acting as if he owned the place. Bachman had trained as a lawyer and, according to his professors, he had a real knack for it. But after failing to pass the bar on his first try, he never tried again. Still, the legal training came in handy in terrorizing his unwitting roommates:
A few days after Alex and her mother, Susan, discovered his true identity, Susan Miller let herself into Alex’s apartment unannounced and Bachman came roaring out at her. “What are you doing in my home?” he said. “This is my daughter’s home, Jamison,” Susan said. Bachman’s face went pale: It was the first time either of the Millers had acknowledged they knew his true name.
Bachman had brushed off Alex’s demands that he leave with the mantra “I’ll see you in court.” So on April 26, Alex took letterhead from the lawyer she worked for and typed out a notice of demand. “Local police authorities have been alerted as to your previously recorded disputes as a tenant in sufferance,” she wrote. Bachman ignored the letter. Alex put out a listing for a new roommate, but when she brought one woman by to see the room, Bachman refused to open the door.
Alex Miller then tried to drive Bachman out by holding a loud party on a night she knew he’d be working from home. Bachman finally stormed out of the house but he returned the next morning as she was getting ready for work. That’s when he became violent for the first time, with both his hands and a knife:
Before dawn the following morning, Miller heard Bachman rise unusually early and leave the house. She crossed the hall into the bathroom and was brushing her teeth, thinking she might be able to slip out to work while he was gone, when the front door opened. Bachman barreled down the narrow hallway and, with a fist, slammed the bathroom door open. He pushed her against the wall, his hand at her throat, but when she screamed, he retreated. She followed him to his bedroom.
Standing half in the doorway, she shouted, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” Bachman sat on his heap of quilts, dicing the cat food with the serrated knife — and then he was coming back at her, the knife in hand. He leaned against the door to shut it, and as she pulled back, her leg got stuck between the door and the frame. “You’ve made a grave mistake,” Bachman growled, jabbing the knife toward her through the opening. It sliced her thigh. Blood smeared the door. When it opened wide enough, Miller pulled her leg back and ran to her room to hide.
Bachman was arrested. He was eventually bailed out by his older brother Harry. A meeting was arranged so the Millers (Alex and her mother) could return his belongings. When Bachman learned they had given his dog to a woman in the suburbs (with a judge’s approval) he snapped and yelled from his car, “You’re dead, bitch.” That violated the protective order Alex Miller had taken out against him and Jamison Bachman was re-arrested.
Jamison’s brother Harry bailed him out again but refused to let his troubled brother move in with him. On November 3, Harry pulled up to his house and texted his wife Caroline Bachman, who was out of town, that Jamison had shown up unexpectedly at their home. It was the last time she ever heard from her husband.
There’s more but I won’t completely spoil the ending to encourage you to read the whole piece. There’s also a 12-minute video interview with several of his victims that is worth your time.