SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – An elderly woman who offered a man a roof over his head is questioning her decision.

Eleanor Wallace is in her early 70’s and Joshua Diaz is in his early 20’s.

When Diaz moved into Eleanor’s Southwest Miami-Dade home in April, she thought the two made pretty good roommates.

A friend asked Eleanor to take the young man into her home.

“I said, ‘You don’t have to pay me a thing; you don’t have any money. You’re homeless;  you can stay here,’” Wallace explained.  “I gave myself into his friendship, I even mentioned the fact that I loved him so much I could even consider him, I could even consider seeing him as my son.”

The friendship soon soured, Wallace said.

“As soon as he realized he’d won me over that’s when he pounced and everything changed,” Wallace said.

Monday, she says Diaz tried to choke her.

“He had my larynx and he’s strong,” Wallace recalled about the encounter.  “He had his arms around my throat.”

“I slid out of the chair and fell flat on my face on the tile flat on my face and I was unconscious,” she added.

A couple days later, she said she heard a disturbing sound.

“I heard the slamming – bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.  Then, he comes downstairs and says ‘well we have one less family member.’”

Wallace said Diaz killed a gold tabby cat named Xavier.

“He said he took the cat and he literally smashed it.”

According to arresting documents, Diaz told officers he killed the cat because it scratched his head.

He did not admit to choking his roommate, but allegedly told police he thought she was “possessed”.

In court, a judge set  bond for Diaz at $35,000.  He’ll be on house arrest when he bonds out of jail.

He told the judge he would stay with his uncle.

“Your uncle doesn’t have any cats does he?” asked the judge. Diaz responded he doesn’t.

Diaz will not be allowed to go back to Wallace’s home except with a police escort to collect his belongings.

Wallace wishes she’d never opened her home to Diaz.

“If I can’t recognize I was being manipulated, I certainly do now,” Wallace said. “He’s vicious, more vicious than I could ever imagine.  I never dreamed in a million years how vicious that man is.”

The dead cat was still in Wallace’s trash can when CBS4’s Maggie Newland visited the home.

She told Newland  that she’s worried about what could happen if Diaz ever comes back to the home.

Watch Maggie Newland’s report, click here.





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