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

ROCKLAND, Maine ― The South Thomaston woman who bludgeoned an 83-year-old woman to death in Owls Head last year is expected to be sentenced next week in Knox County.

After entering an initial not guilty plea last year, Sarah Richards, 37, pleaded guilty to charges of murder and theft in April in connection to the death of 83-year-old Helen Carver in February 2019.

During the winter of 2019, Richards was hired by Carver to shovel snow at her Owls Head home where she lived alone.

On Feb. 14, 2019, 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. Police were scheduled to interview Richards about the theft on Feb. 22.

But Carver was found dead in her home on Feb. 21 by one of her sons. A medical examiner determined Carver was strangled and died from blunt force trauma to the head and upper body.

After changing her story multiple times, Richards told police that she killed Carver with a “tool” after the elderly woman confronted her about the missing card. Richards said that Carver, who used a wheelchair, “came at her” so she lunged at the woman and tackled her into an entertainment center before striking Carver in the head “with a tool [she] had brought into the home,” according to a police affidavit.

At some point in the 48 hours before Carver was killed, Richards allegedly asked her ex-husband if he would be willing to kill someone, according to the affidavit.

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

Richards has been held at the Knox County Jail since her arrest on Feb. 22, 2019.