Sarah Richards, 37, of South Thomaston enters the courtroom with her attorney Jeremy Pratt at the Knox County Superior Court in Rockland, Feb. 25, 2019. Richards is charged in connection with the murder of Helen Carver of Owls Head. Credit: Gabor Degre

The South Thomaston woman accused of killing an eldery Owls Head woman earlier this year over theft accusations pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Sarah Richards, 37, appeared in Knox County Court in Rockland on Tuesday morning for her arraignment on charges of murder and theft. She has been held without bail at the Knox County Jail since her arrest in February.

Richards is accused of bludgeoning 83-year-old Helen Carver on Feb. 21 at her Owls Head home, where Richards was providing snow removal. One of Carver’s sons found his mother unresponsive in her home later that day after Carver did not answer his phone calls.

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The state medical examiner’s office determined that Carver died from blunt force trauma with evidence of strangulation.

In the weeks before her death, Carver reportedly suspected that Richards stole her debit card. Carver reported the alleged theft to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 14. Detectives from the sheriff’s office had previously arranged to interview Richards on Feb. 22, the day after Carver died.

On either the day before or the day of Carver’s death, Richards allegedly asked her ex-husband if he would be willing to kill someone, according to a police affidavit filed in support of a search warrant last month. Her ex-husband initially thought that Richards’ question was a joke, but after seeing what she was accused of doing, he had “no doubt” Richards was asking him if he was “willing to take part in killing Helen Carver,” the affidavit states.

[Owls Head woman killed in her home remembered for strong faith]

After changing her story multiple times, Richards allegedly told police that she killed Carver with a “tool” after Carver confronted her about the stolen debit card. 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.

According to the affidavit, witnesses saw Richards and her boyfriend leaving Carver’s home around 11:30 a.m. on Feb 21.

Tuesday’s hearing lasted less than five minutes, with Richards only entering her not guilty pleas. She will continue to be held without bail.