Vanderhall pleads guilty to killing mother, sister, family friend with hammer

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MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting District Attorney Joyce A. Smith announced that a Hempstead man pleaded guilty today to murder and attempted murder charges for a hammer attack that left his mother, sister, and a family friend dead, and another woman injured.

Bobby Vanderhall, 37, of Hempstead, pleaded guilty today before Judge Patricia Harrington to murder in the first degree (an A-I felony) and attempted murder in the second degree (a B violent felony). The defendant is expected to receive 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on December 17, 2021. 

“Bobby Vanderhall brutally attacked his mother, sister, and his sister’s friend in an act of family violence that tragically resulted in their deaths,” said Acting DA Smith. “Our thoughts continue to be with the Vanderhall and Simpson families as they mourn their loved ones and try to heal from this devastating loss.”

According to the indictment, on August 12, 2017 at approximately 1:10 a.m., the defendant forcibly entered his family home in Hempstead with a hammer and screwdriver. Once inside, Vanderhall used the hammer to bludgeon his mother, Lynn, his sister, Melissa, and his sister’s friend, Janel Simpson, to death. Vanderhall also used kitchen knives to stab his mother and sister several times.

A fourth victim who was in the home was also attacked but was able to escape with injuries to her wrist, arm, and head, and alerted police. 

Vanderhall fled the scene and was arrested a few hours later by detectives of the Nassau County Police Department.