Elderly woman dies after break-in; neighbor says she was 'scared to death'

- “She was scared to death and that’s what she died from.” said neighbor Mike McCowan. He is grieving the loss of his 90-year-old neighbor Florence Kaufman, who died days after an attempted break-in at her luxury Santa Monica high-rise apartment.

The story began around 5:00 am Saturday when police say, 31-year-old Anthony Aikin made his way inside the secure building and onto the 6th floor.

The retired 84 year-LAPD officer lives across the hall from Kaufman and heard a commotion, so he grabbed his golf club and sprung into action.

He was banging and kicking and banging and got it wide like that and trying to get him that’s when I open the door and then he started running back-and-forth.” Said McCowan. 

McCowan says the suspect ran off but was quickly caught on the property. Resident Carol Sherk happened to be outside at the time.

“And I came back in and the police were escorting this young man out 5 building with no shoes... Which I noticed...how would he get in here?” said Sherk. 

That is still unclear. We reached out to the building management but weren’t able to speak with anyone. 

McCowan is no stranger to crime, the former LAPD officer and attorney once represented one of the most notorious killers in history. 

“I was Sirhan Sirhan’s attorney, he’s the man that shot Robert Kennedy.” said McCowan.

Meanwhile, police say, the recently widowed victim was initially unaware of the break-in but later became completely traumatized.

“For the next three days after that this woman was scared to death and she kept telling me you saved my life...and I said everything’s fine. Nothing is going to happen...the police have him.” McCowan said. 

So traumatized, that McCowan, believes it ultimately played a role in her passing. “I found out the day before yesterday she died and she died because she was so frightened.”

Santa Monica PD initially wanted to charge the suspect with felony burglary and vandalism but the county declined those charges. 

Instead, he was charged with a misdemeanor. He was released from jail yesterday...ironically, the same day as Kaufman’s funeral. 

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