Sarah Richards, 37, of South Thomaston enters the courtroom with her attorney Jeremy Pratt at the Knox County Superiour Court in Rockland Monday afternoon. Richards was charged in connection with the murder of Helen Carver of Owels Head. Credit: Gabor Degre | BDN

ROCKLAND, Maine ― The case of a South Thomaston woman charged with murdering an eldery Owls Head woman earlier this year is likely headed to trial.

Sarah Richards, 37, is accused of bludgeoning 83-year-old Helen Carver to death at her home in February. Richards pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and theft in May. She has been held without bail at the Knox County Jail since her Feb. 22 arrest.

A plea agreement was not reached during a settlement hearing in Portland last week, according to Richards’ attorney, Jeremey Pratt.

No trial date has been set.

Richards had been hired by Carver to shovel her walkways and driveways last winter. On Feb. 14, one week before her death, Carver told the Knox County Sheriff’s Office that she believed Richards had stolen her debit card, according to a police affidavit.

After the initial theft report, the sheriff’s office obtained “multiple videos” of Richards allegedly using Carver’s debit card, the affidavit said.

A sheriff’s deputy had reportedly contacted Richards and scheduled an interview regarding the theft just a day after one of Carver’s sons found her unresponsive in her home on Feb. 21. The state medical examiner’s office determined Carver died of blunt force trauma with evidence of strangulation.

After changing her story multiple times, Richards allegedly told police that she killed Carver with a “tool” after the elderly woman 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.

At some point in the 48 hours before Carver’s death, Richards allegedly went to the home of her ex-husband and asked if he “would be willing to kill someone,” according to a police affidavit.

Her former spouse initially thought that Richards was kidding, but after hearing that she was charged with murder, he had “no doubt” Richards was asking him if he was “willing to take part in killing Helen Carver,” the affidavit states.

Richards has a lengthy criminal history, consisting mostly of thefts and drug convictions. Most recently, Richards was convicted in 2015 of stealing and reselling lobster crates with her then-husband from the Fox Island Lobster Co. Richards was sentenced to serve 10 months at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham and pay $1,605 for her role in that crime, according to her criminal record.

If Richards is found guilty of murder, she faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.