A 31-year-old man is accused in the death of 81-year-old Marie Buck, a beloved South Philadelphia store owner who knew all her customers by name and allowed hard-on-their-luck customers to run tabs.
“Pure evil,” is how the police commissioner described the Christmas Eve slaying.
Homicide Capt. James Clark said in a news conference December 29 that Maurice Green, 31 has been charged in Buck’s slaying.
The veteran police commander described Buck’s murder as “horrific,” saying that Buck was an “81-year-old grandmother, defenseless, beloved by the community.”
Green had a beef with Buck’s grandson, Clark said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Green Was Allegedly Upset Because He Believed Buck’s Grandson Stole His Jewelry, Police Say
“The decedent had a grandson who the suspect believed had something to do with stealing his expensive chain,” said Clark in the news conference. You can watch the full police news conference below:
The police captain alleged that Green demanded money from the grandson to no avail, and showed up at Buck’s store thinking her grandson would be working there. Police said the jewelry was worth thousands of dollars. Green and Buck’s grandson knew each other previously, said Clark.
Instead, he encountered the grandmother, Clark alleged.
2. Buck Was Shot 11 Times
Police contend that Green didn’t even fully enter the store. “He just opened up the door, never fully was even one step inside, and he fired multiple times,” alleged Clark.
Clark alleged that Green shot Buck 11 times. He believes that Green’s intention was to kill the grandson, but, when he realized only the grandmother was in the store, he allegedly intended to kill the grandmother instead.
Buck’s obituary says, “Marie was a loving wife, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and owner operator of Marie’s Grocery Store (S. Phila.) for over 43 yrs.”
3. Green Has a Long History of Drug Arrests
According to Philly.com, Green has an extensive drug history that includes 15 prior arrests, mostly drug-related, some of which are open cases.
The newspaper said Green was charged in May with dealing heroin and crack, but he was released after posting $10,000 bail and had appeared in court December 19. Clark said in the news conference that Green has many “priors.”
4. Buck Was Called ‘Aunt Marie’ in Her South Philly Neighborhood
People in the South Philly neighborhood all knew Marie Buck. A long line of mourners filed into a local funeral home to honor Buck and pay their respects. NBC Philadelphia described Buck as “a woman who dressed as Santa every Christmas Eve as part of family tradition” and was known as “Aunt Marie” in the neighborhood.
ABC 6 described the store owner as “a South Philadelphia staple for decades. Her store was a place where people passed with a friendly hello and could always count on Marie being feisty and caring.”
5. Police Cracked the Case With Surveillance Videotape, in Part
“Homicide detectives worked around the clock working this horrific murder,” said Clark. He said police have videotape that allegedly shows Green parking his vehicle and walking toward the store minutes before the murder.
The videotape then allegedly shows Green fleeing the scene right after the murder. Police say they also received anonymous tips. “There are a lot of things tying him to the scene,” Clark alleged of Green, although he was not more specific.