ROCKLAND, Maine ― The woman accused of bludgeoning an elderly woman to death in Owls Head last year is scheduled to change her plea to guilty in June, her attorney said.
Sarah Richards, 38, of South Thomaston, is charged with murder and theft in connection with the Feb. 21, 2019 death of 83-year-old Helen Carver. Richards initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, then pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In June, she is slated to change her plea again, this time to guilty, according to her attorney Jeremy Pratt. Pratt would not comment on what led to the decision to plead guilty or whether a plea agreement was reached with prosecutors. She was slated to go to trial on the charges in August.
Richards was hired during the winter of 2019 by Carver to provide snow removal at her home in Owls Head, where she lived alone and was largely bound to a wheelchair. Sometime after that began, Carver suspected that Richards had stolen her debit card and went to police with the accusation.
A sheriff’s deputy was scheduled to meet with Richards regarding the theft on Feb. 22, 2019. However, that meeting never happened because one of Carver’s sons found her unresponsive in her home on Feb. 21, 2019. Richards was instead arrested and charged with murder on Feb. 22, 2019. The state medical examiner’s office determined Carver died of blunt force trauma with evidence of strangulation.
After changing her story multiple times, Richards allegedly told police that she killed Carver with a “tool” after the elderly woman confronted her about the stolen debit card, according to a police affidavit. Richards said that Carver, who used a wheelchair, “came at her” so she lunged at Carver, tackled her into an entertainment center and then struck Carver in the head “with a tool [she] had brought into the home,” the affidavit states.
At some point in the 48 hours before Carver was killed, Richards allegedly asked her ex-husband if he would be willing to kill someone, according to a police affidavit.
Her ex-husband initially thought that Richards was kidding, but after hearing that she had been charged with murder, had “no doubt” Richards was asking him if he was “willing to take part in killing Helen Carver,” the affidavit states.
In Maine, the minimum sentence for murder is 25 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.