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Laura Lundquist, 98, Charged With Murder of 100 Year Old Roommate

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By Kamika Dunlap on December 14, 2009 1:30 PM

Laura Lundquist is believed to be the oldest murder defendant in Massachusetts state history.

The 98-year-old woman was indicted recently on a second-degree murder charge that alleges she strangled a 100-year-old woman who was her roommate at a nursing home the Associated Press reports.

Lundquist was sent to a state mental hospital for a competency evaluation before her arraignment on the second-degree murder charge.  Her defense attorney says, Lundqist has a "long-standing diagnosis of dementia, as well as issues of cognitive impairment."

Prosecutors pursued second-degree murder charges because they didn't believe that Lundquist had the cognitive ability to commit premeditated murder.

The body of the 100 year-old woman, Elizabeth Barrow, was found in her bed on Sept. 24,  with a plastic bag tied around her head.

The weeks before her death Barrow complained that Lundquist was making her life "a living hell," officials said.

She complained that Lundquist had placed a table at the foot of her bed to block her way to the bathroom, the night before Barrow was killed.

At first, police speculated it was a suicide, but a medical examiner ruled it a homicide after an autopsy indicated strangulation.

Officials say, Lundquist suffered from paranoia and harbored hostility toward the victim and thought Barrow was taking over the room they shared.

The two women had been roommates for about a year, the AP reports.

According to the district attorney, the case likely won't ever go to trial because of the possible incompetency finding and because the defense will likely involve mental health issues, which take a long time to prosecute.

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