Sarah Richards, 37, of South Thomaston enters the courtroom with her attorney Jeremy Pratt at the Knox County Superiour Court in Rockland in this Feb. 25, 2019, file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre

A South Thomaston woman accused of bludgeoning an 83-year-old woman to death last year has pleaded guilty.

The Courier-Gazette reports that Sarah Richards on Thursday entered her guilty pleas to murder and theft in the death of 83-year-old Helen Carver of Owls Head.

Carver, who lived alone, was found dead in her home on Feb. 21, 2019. Richards was arrested and charged in Carver’s death on Feb. 22, and a Knox County grand jury indicted her on March 5, 2019.

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Richards, who shoveled Carver’s driveway in the winter, denied killing Carver in two interviews with the Maine State Police, but in a third she claimed she struck Carver, who had limited mobility, in the head in self-defense, according to the newspaper.

Carver died of blunt force trauma to the head and upper body and strangulation.

At the time, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office was investigating Richards for stealing Carver’s debit card and spending money from her account.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea told Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee that her office and Richards’ defense agreed to either a 50-year cap on the sentence or no recommendation in exchange for the plea, according to the Courier-Gazette.

Richards will be sentenced at a later date. She faces a minimum of 25 years in prison.