It’s not often you relate violence to the older generation. And although not in the same numbers as the younger generation, geriatric folk are as capable of murder as others. Take 98 year-old Laura Lundquist who allegedly strangled her 100 year-old roommate, Elizabeth Barrow to death in the nursing home room they shared together in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. They had only been sharing the room for about a year, the relationship was not a harmonious one.
The motion filed in Superior Court details the relationship between the two elderly women and describes, how just a short distance from a nurses’ station, Lundquist was allegedly able to strangle and suffocate Barrow that morning within a window of 20 minutes. Staff found her body at 6:20 a.m. under a bed sheet with a plastic bag tied loosely around her head.
No one wants a trial, least of all prison time, including the victim’s son who was quoted as saying
“It doesn’t make any sense for her to do prison time,” he said. “When you’re that age, your faculties can come and go. You can be harmless in one moment and a psychopathic murderer in the next. I’m not a doctor, but the state has a difficult dilemma here. She’s just a poor old lady who snapped.”
And though that is very charitable, and probably for the best considering her age, placing her back in the nursing home would be crminal since it could endanger other people. Apparently Lundquist was known to have “a long standing diagnosis of dementia and exhibited other erratic behaviors.” Who’s to say she wouldn’t ‘snap’ again?
And their relationship was not a good one, according to the D.A. C. Samuel Sutter:
“The investigation revealed that Ms. Lundquist harbored hostility towards Ms. Barrow because because she believed Ms. Barrow was taking over the room they shared at the nursing home.”
The motion said that Lundquist had also “made statements prior to the victim’s death that she would get the victim’s bed by the window because she was going to outlive her.” Looks like she made that happen. It also appears she hadexhibited violent tendencies before:
The night before staff found Barrow dead, she complained that Lundquist has placed a table at the foot of her bed that blocked her path to the bathroom, according to joint motion. A nurse’s aide moved the table and Lundquist punched her. When staff discovered Barrow’s body, the table had been moved back to the foot of her bed.
Which begs the question, with all the animosity between the two old women, why on earth were they allowed to continue living in the same room? Though I believe the nursing home is at fault, prosecutors have no plans on filing charges against the home.
Lundquist will undergo psychiatric evaluation to establish competency. Looks like she might just get off scott free. But that’s what they all seem to want.