Police yesterday released images of a man wanted for questioning in the savage beating of an 82-year-old South Philadelphia woman who died of her injuries 18 days after the Feb. 2 attack inside her home.

Julia Kay had gone to Beneficial Savings Bank and Rite Aid, both on Broad Street near Snyder Avenue, before heading home to Iseminger Street near Snyder.

Police believe the killer followed her after she cashed her Social Security check at the bank and then when she shopped for bread and other items at the Rite Aid.

Video surveillance shows a man who was wearing distinctive patches on his black jacket enter the store after Kay. Police believe he was following her.

The man even offered to help her home, which she politely declined, friends said.

Later, the killer approached the mother, grandmother and great-grandmother from behind at her door. She tried to push him out, but he overcame her and began the senseless beating in her entryway.

"She certainly wasn't a threat to anyone," said Capt. Michael Costello, of the Homicide Unit.

The attacker dragged Kay across the floor to the kitchen, then downstairs to her basement. As he mercilessly pulled her down the stairs, her head hit each step along the way, according to friends who spoke with Kay after the attack.

Afterward, the attacker left the house with $20, Costello said.

Kay died Feb. 20 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of multiple fractures to the skull. She also suffered lacerations to her chest, head and face.

The Citizens Crime Commission is now offering a $5,000 reward, posted by Beneficial Savings, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kay's killer. To be eligible for the reward, information must be called in to the commission tip line - 1-800-546-TIPS.

The killer is described as an African-American man, 28 to 35 years old, about 5 feet 9, medium build, and wearing glasses. He had on a black jacket with at least five patches on it, including a cross over his right chest and a large patch on the right sleeve. He also wore a black hat, black shoes and black pants. *