A Martinez woman and her daughter pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and cruelty in connection with the death of an 85-year-old woman in their care.
Deborah Yvonne Hill, 48, and Brittany Michelle Hurst, 19, pleaded not guilty to murder and cruelty to persons 65 years and older at an arraignment hearing in Evans.
They are charged in the death of Blanche Aline Carpenter, 85, a friend of Hill’s grandmother. Hill and Hurst were acting as Carpenter’s caregivers at their home when they reported her death to police Aug. 25.
According to authorities, Carpenter had been dead for about two days. An autopsy revealed she died from medical complications of neglect.
The suspects initially claimed Carpenter had been responsive earlier in the day in the bedroom she shared with Hill’s grandmother. Hurst later told police she knew of the death of Carpenter, who was covered with a plastic sheet that police found in a garbage can, according to investigators.
Hill also faces three counts of cruelty to children and two counts of misdemeanor failure to educate. Authorities say that her children, then ages 16, 11, and 9, lived in unsanitary conditions and that two had not been sent to school.
The oldest child is with his father. The two others are in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.
Hill’s grandmother and her disabled husband, who is under the supervision of Adult Protective Services, are in assisted-living facilities.
Hill and Hurst are being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond.