NEW YORK, NY — Severed body parts of a man killed for his apartment rained from a Manhattan housing project window before dawn yesterday as cops were about to raid the flat, police said.

Police said the man, whose hands were tossed from the ninth floor of the Dyckman Houses, was one of two tenants in the Inwood building slain for their apartments by a freeloading parolee.

As police arrived at the building, two hands in plastic bags landed on the front lawn.

"I wanted to throw out the head, but I was afraid you'd find it too soon," suspect Bernard Perez, 20, told cops, sources said.

Police said Perez was caught last week in the seventh-floor apartment of a woman who was killed in January and dumped in the Harlem River. But even after he admitted to helping dispose of her body, he was inexplicably left free to kill again, sources said.

Perez — who sources said confessed yesterday to killing Doris Drakeford, 44, and Gerry Pollard and moving into their apartments — was being held on first-degree murder charges last night as cops unraveled the gruesome crime trail.

As police, acting on a tip, arrived at the 10th Ave. building at 3 a.m. yesterday, two hands in plastic bags landed on the front lawn. Inside Pollard's apartment, they found Perez and alleged accomplice Rahman Williams, 21, frantically trying to hide the tenant's other chopped-up remains, cops said.

The previous week Perez admitted to dumping another body. Inexplicably, he was ticketed for trespassing and released.

Police found Pollard's head in a plastic bag under the kitchen sink, as well as a hacksaw and a bathtub full of bloody water. The victim's torso and legs, wrapped in plastic bags, were discovered in a Dumpster a few blocks away, cops said.

Pollard was believed to have been beaten and strangled on Saturday and dismembered Sunday. "The cutting was solely for disposing of the victim," a police source said.

Sources said Williams confessed to helping kill Pollard — but insisted he did not take part in the dismemberment. "I didn't want to have anything to do with cutting up bodies," he told cops, according to sources.

Perez also confessed to slaying Drakeford, whose hogtied body floated to the surface of the Harlem River last week.

She had been missing since January, when Perez allegedly strangled her, dumped her body and moved into her apartment. Until her corpse was discovered, Perez's scheme went unnoticed because Drakeford's rent was automatically paid with benefits checks, sources said.

When detectives knocked on Drakeford's door last week, they found Perez, Williams and another man in her apartment. Williams and the other man apparently didn't know Drakeford had been killed, sources said.

Under questioning last week, Perez denied killing Drakeford but said he helped dump her body, sources said. He was given a desk appearance ticket for criminal trespass, sources said.

The scheme began to unravel when Perez showed someone the victim's torso.

A spokeswoman for the Bronx district attorney could not say yesterday why Perez wasn't charged in Drakeford's murder last week. She found only a record of the May 24 ticket given to Perez for trespassing.

"I killed another crackhead and am living in their apartment," Perez boasted.

It also was unclear why that ticket did not put him back behind bars for a violation of his parole. Parole Board spokesman Tom Grant said he could not immediately find a record of the May 24 arrest but noted that a complete search was impossible on the holiday.

Grant said Perez was denied parole twice before being sprung last year. By law, he had to be paroled last June after serving two-thirds of his two-to-six-year sentence for a 1996 armed robbery conviction.

Soon after getting tossed out of Drakeford's apartment last week, Perez was "out and looking for another place to live and finds another victim," said a police source.

The bizarre freeloading scheme began to come apart Sunday, when Perez showed someone the victim's severed torso, which had been placed in the bathtub, sources said.

"I killed another crackhead and am living in their apartment," Perez told the person, according to cops.

The person flagged down a patrol car early yesterday, prompting the raid.

Sources said Perez struck in that building because he grew up there and his grandmother lives there.

His cousin Elizabeth Rodriguez, 39, defended Perez, who was under suicide watch last night. "He has no reason to do that. He's got a bed in my grandmother's house," she said. "I'll vouch for that 100%."