Police report details of deadly attack on Owls Head woman

By Stephen Betts | Mar 07, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Sarah Richards, right, is shown here with her attorney, Jeremy Pratt, at an earlier court hearing.

Rockland — A 37-year-old South Thomaston woman admitted she killed an 83-year-old Owls Head woman last month after an altercation over a stolen debit card.

A Maine State Police affidavit filed in Knox County Superior Court was unsealed Thursday, March 7, detailing the investigation leading up to Sarah Richards' being charged with murder for the death of Helen Carver.

Richards was indicted for murder March 5 by a Knox County grand jury. Richards was also indicted for theft. She has been held at the Knox County Jail in Rockland without bail since her arrest Feb. 22.

Carver's son, Robert Carver, had talked with his mother by telephone shortly before 11 a.m. Feb. 21 and in the conversation she 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 and other unspecified evidence determined that Richards and her boyfriend, who is not named in the police report, were leaving the area of Carver's home at about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 21.

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 and her boyfriend were located the following morning.

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. She later, however, changed her story and said she went inside and Carver was already dead. Richards said she provided life-saving 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.

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.

Richards is scheduled to be arraigned on May 23.

Attorney Jeremy Pratt of Camden and Logan Perkins have been appointed to represent Richards.

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

Richards has a long criminal record, including under her former married name, Sarah Stalcup. 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 there.

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

Comments (2)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 08, 2019 16:07


"MINIMUM mandatory sentence of 25 years".

Posted by: johanna stadler | Mar 07, 2019 17:42

sounds to me like she should serve the entire 25 yrs... how does an old lady in a wheelchair come at a able body 37 yr old in such a way as to deserve that response?  Was a paramedic for a long while, never took the pulse with my hands around someone neck.  What a sad situation for all involved.

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