Bond denied, details emerge in death of elderly woman

Disabled 85-year-old died in August

A judge denied bond Friday for a Martinez woman and her daughter charged with murder in the death of her disabled “aunt” in August.

Deborah Y. Hill, 48, and Brit­tany Michelle Hurst, 19, are charged in the death of 85-year-old Blanche Aline Carpenter, who is not a relative but a friend of Hill’s grandmother. Hill and Hurst were Carpenter’s caregivers when they reported her death to police Aug. 25.

“It was fairly clear to (emergency medical personnel) that she had been deceased a number of days,” Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms said at the bond hearing in Evans.

Both women face one count of murder and two counts of cruelty to people older than 65.

An autopsy determined Car­pen­ter died from medical complications of neglect. Her body was left, covered with a plastic sheet, in the bedroom she shared with Hill’s grandmother, Syms said.

Hill also faces three counts of cruelty to children for the “deplorable” condition of the Locks Hill home she also shared with children ages 16, 11, and 9, now in custody of the Department of Family and Chil­dren Services, along with her 85-year-old grandmother, and her disabled husband. Hill’s husband, who is under the supervision of Adult Pro­tective Services, and grandmother are now in assisted living facilities.

In rejecting bond, Superior Court Judge Bernard Mulherin said the women could intimidate the three minor children who will likely testify in the case and that they are a flight risk.

“Officers found that Mrs. Hill had changed residences 23 times in 24 years,” Syms said.

Hurst’s attorney, David Weber, said she’d only been to school through the seventh grade and was possibly mentally challenged.

“I don’t think there was any criminal intent,” Weber said. “We disagree rather vehemently with some of the accusations made by Mr. Syms.”

Police said Hill’s two youngest children had not been to school recently, if ever.

Hill’s attorney, Joshua Smith, asked that his client be allowed out on bond while police finish the investigation.

“This is a very bad set of circumstances,” he said. “(Police need time to) get to the bottom of why this nice, old lady died.”