Local News

Second Murder Charge Filed in Elderly Assaults

Posted December 10, 2007 5:42 a.m. EST
Updated December 10, 2007 10:03 a.m. EST

— A second murder charge was filed Monday against a former housekeeper accused of beating three elderly women at an upscale Chatham County retirement community last week.

Barbara Turrentine Clark, 41, of Toomer Loop Road in Pittsboro, is charged with two counts of murder and one count each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill after the Dec. 5 attacks 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.

Murta died Wednesday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Corcoran died Saturday at the hospital as a result of her injuries.

Fisher remains in stable condition at the hospital.

Investigators said Clark used to work for Murta and Corcoran and became angry during a dispute over money with them. Fisher was visiting the ladies when she was attacked, authorities said.

Clark was once under a court order in Durham to stay away from elderly people. In 2001, Clark was convicted of misdemeanor larceny and obtaining property by false pretense in connection with the theft of checks from a 90-year-old man. At the time, she was working as a certified nursing assistant at The Forest of Duke, an upscale Durham retirement community.

In September, Chatham County deputies charged Clark with taking, forging and cashing checks.

Clark's relative said she had serious financial difficulties, despite owning her own housekeeping business, Barbara Clark Enterprises, with clients in Chatham, Durham and Orange counties.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said he has not decided if he will seek the death penalty in the case.