No agreement reached in Owls Head murder case

By Stephen Betts | Aug 30, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Sarah Richards at an earlier court hearing in Rockland.

Portland — No agreements on a plea or sentence were reached Friday, Aug. 30, between the state and defense in the case of a 37-year-old South Thomaston woman accused of beating and strangling 83-year-old Helen Carver inside her home in February.

A settlement conference was held in Portland before Justice Bruce Mallonee, the Maine Attorney General's Office and defense attorney Jeremy Pratt in the case of Sarah Richards.

Pratt said after the hearing that no agreement was reached.

Attorney General spokesman Marc Malon said the AG's Office had no comment at this time.

No future hearings are yet scheduled.

Richards pleaded not guilty in Knox County Superior Court May 28 to murder and theft charges.

She was indicted March 5 and has been held without bail at the Knox County Jail in Rockland since her arrest Feb. 22 for the Feb. 21 death.

An affidavit filed by state police earlier this year stated that Richards had stopped at the home of her ex-husband, either Feb. 20 or Feb. 21, and asked him "if he would be willing to kill someone."

The man told police he thought she was kidding, but then realized after he learned about Carver's death that he had no doubt that Richards was asking him if he would be willing to take part in killing Carver.

Carver's son, Robert Carver, had talked with his mother by telephone shortly before 11 a.m. Feb. 21, and in the conversation she had told her son that Richards had stolen her debit card. The Knox County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the Owls Head woman had contacted the office Feb. 14 about the theft.

A Knox County deputy had contacted Richards and was scheduled to interview her Feb. 22.

Witness reports stated that Richards and her boyfriend were seen leaving the area of Carver's home at about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 21, according to the police affidavit.

Her son found his mother dead in the home shortly after 1 p.m. Feb. 21, after he was unable to reach her again by phone.

Richards initially told police that she had been at the house to shovel snow and went inside and Carver was in good shape when she left, according to the affidavit. However, she later changed her story and said she went inside and Carver was already dead. Richards said she provided lifesaving efforts and left, according to police.

Richards then said when she went inside the house, Carver was upset over the stolen debit card and that the elderly woman "came at her." Richards said she then lunged at Carver and tackled her into an entertainment center. Richards also admitted to striking Carver in the head with a tool. The type of tool is not stated in the police report, but police obtained a warrant from the court to examine a shovel that Richards owned for any signs of blood.

Richards said she put her hands around Carver's neck to determine if she had a pulse.

The affidavit states that the Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death as blunt force trauma with signs of strangulation.

Another affidavit said that Verizon records from the phones of Richards and boyfriend Jimmy Wellman could help develop a timeline of events leading up to the murder. The telephones were seized the morning of Feb. 22 from the truck that Richards and Wellman were in.

Murder carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison in Maine.

Richards has a long criminal record. She was convicted of stealing more than 100 lobster crates from Fox Island Lobster in Cushing in 2013. She had worked at the business.

She received a nine-month jail term in 2016 for unlawful trafficking in drugs. In June 2017, she was sentenced to 30 days in jail for violating her probation for the prior drug conviction.

She was charged with theft in 2012 by Waldoboro police. In 2013, she served seven days in jail for violating a condition of release.

In 2006, Richards was sentenced to five days in jail for violating probation for illegal importation of drugs. In 2004, she was sentenced to 48 hours in jail for theft.

Helen Carver lived alone at the South Shore Drive home after her husband's death.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Cynthia Mary Anderson | Sep 05, 2019 17:09

She is a murderer, plain and simple.  You don't strangle someone to check for a pulse.  That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.  If she gets out of this, I hope it enrages the whole community.  She should be locked away for life, for what she did to that poor woman.

Posted by: Ananur Forma | Sep 02, 2019 15:01

"Long criminal record."   also this article states:  "Unlawful trafficking of drugs."  AND other crimes.

Killing someone (an elder!) is very serious... Prove yourself innocent....?

Posted by: Nina Reed | Aug 31, 2019 07:36

ty johanna, she should get the same thing she did to the victim and go to prison for life. patricia williams


Posted by: johanna stadler | Aug 31, 2019 05:54

means they were trying to plea deal and she will not except responsibility for her actions so we must take her to trial and through the book at her.  Geez what a cold blood little bitch.... just own your actions....

Posted by: Nina Reed | Aug 31, 2019 01:58

i dont understand about an agreement. what does it mean? patricia williams

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