A 98-year-old woman was indicted Friday on a second-degree murder charge that alleges she strangled her 100-year-old nursing home roommate after making the victim's life "a living hell" because she thought the woman was "taking over the room."
Laura Lundquist was sent to a state mental hospital for a competency evaluation before her arraignment. Her defense attorney, Carl Levin, said she has a "long-standing diagnosis of dementia, as well as issues of cognitive impairment."
She is believed to be the oldest murder defendant in state history, but might never go to trial because of her mental health issues.
Her roommate at the Brandon Woods nursing home in Dartmouth, Elizabeth Barrow, was found dead in her bed Sept. 24 with a plastic bag tied around her head. Police initially speculated it was a suicide, but a medical examiner ruled it a homicide after an autopsy indicated strangulation, The Associated Press reports.
According to Scott Picone, executive director at the nursing home, "The two women presented like sisters as they took daily walks together around the facility, ate lunch together every day, and were heard nightly saying, "goodnight, I love you" to each other," NECN informs.
Miss Barrow's son, Scott Barrow, has said Lundquist complained to nursing home officials about the number of visitors his mother received. He also has said Lundquist had made "threatening" and "harassing" remarks to her.
Local prosecutor Sam Sutter said Lundquist suffered from paranoia and "harboured hostility towards the victim" and thought Barrow "was taking over the room they shared," according to Telegraph.co.uk.