Local News

Lawyer: Housekeeper Charged in Beating Deaths Needs Mental Treatment

Posted February 20, 2008
Updated February 21, 2008

— A housekeeper charged in the December beating deaths of two elderly women at an upscale Chatham County retirement community should be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment, according to her lawyer.

Public defender James Williams is seeking a court order to send Barbara Turrentine Clark to John Umstead Hospital in Butner for an evaluation and treatment.

Clark, 41, of Toomer Loop Road in Pittsboro, has been indicted on two counts of murder and one count each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The charges stem from a Dec. 5 attack on three elderly women at Galloway Ridge at Fearrington, off U.S. Highway 15/501 north of Pittsboro.

Authorities said Clark attacked Margaret Murta, 92, her roommate Mary Corcoran, 82, and their neighbor, Rebecca Fisher, 77, with pepper spray and a cane-like object during a dispute over money.

Murta and Corcoran died from their injuries. Fisher was seriously injured but recovered.

Williams' request is scheduled to be heard March 24.

Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour on Thursday recused himself from the case, saying he has personal relationships with people in the case. He also appointed a second public defender to assist Williams because Clark might face the death penalty.

Chatham County District Attorney Jim Woodall wants a court hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to seek the death penalty in the case.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • computer trainer Feb 21, 2008

    Give me a break. She had detailed plans of how to kill these ladies. They were elderly and she took advantage of them. How sad that they had to be abused like that, during their golden years. They should take her out and beat her slowly. Then, throw her in prison.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 21, 2008

    sww1rb: Well said. I agree.

  • amypsychrn Feb 20, 2008

    That is a load of horse manure. Send her to prison. She doesnt need to be filling up much needed space in our psychiatric facilities.

  • kahamom Feb 20, 2008

    Sorry- she had notes in with heron how to kill them, had been stealing from them for a while and was trying to cover up her crimes- sounds cold and calculating to me, NOT mentally ill- but nice way to try there counselor.......

  • Dido Feb 20, 2008

    Two elderly women are dead and one was badly injured...sounds like enough evidence to determine whether or not the death penalty is in order.

  • Adelinthe Feb 20, 2008

    Send her to trial first, receive a sentence - the first of which to be served in a mental institution if her attorney so agrees, the second of which to be serving a very very long time in prison.

    Is shameful what she did - regardless.

    Praying for the loved ones of her victims.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB