Ninety-Eight-Year-Old Woman Kills 100-Year-Old Roommate in Massachusetts

Despite my work with older prisoners at the Project for Older Prisoners (POPS), you sometimes find people that buck the trend and commit crimes late in life. Police say that Laura Lundquist is one such “later bloomer.” She is 98 years old and accused of killing her 100-year-old roommate Elizabeth Barrow (shown here) in Massachusetts at the Brandon Woods Nursing Home.

It appears that the two did not get along. Bristol Police alleged that Lunquist believe Barrow was taking over their shared room. This could make for a difficult trial given her age and mental condition. Lundquist’s medical records allegedly include a “long standing diagnosis of dementia and exhibited other erratic behaviors.”
What is interesting (and commendable) is the reaction of the victim’s family. Her son, Scott Barrow, said that prosecuting Lundquist would be absurd and wrong: “I don’t see how you can prosecute a 98-year-old woman. It’s like prosecuting a 2-year-old. But it’s not for me to decide. The law has to take its course. I don’t feel vengeful at all. I feel pity for her.”

Lunquist allegedly strangled and suffocated Barrow over the course of 20 minutes. She was found under a bed sheet with a plastic bag tied loosely around her head.

The most interesting question is whether the son will sue the elderly home for negligence. While criminal and intentional acts can cut off proximate causation, they are something viewed as foreseeable. Court papers state that “[t]he defendant made statements prior to the victim’s death that she would get the victim’s bed by the window because she was going to outlive her.”

The night before, the victim also reportedly complained that Lundquist has placed a table at the foot of her bed that blocked her path to the bathroom. A nurse allegedly also reported Lundquist punched her when she moved a particular table back to where it was. When staff discovered Barrow’s body, the table had been moved back to the foot of the bed.

Lundquist told police that she was in the bathroom and had nothing to do with the death. She said that she heard Barrow scream and it appears that the police initially believed her — ruling that she had committed suicide.

For the full story, click here.

18 thoughts on “Ninety-Eight-Year-Old Woman Kills 100-Year-Old Roommate in Massachusetts”

  1. Like much in our country, the old age industry doesn’t live up to expectations. This is true of both for and non profits. This represents a minute fraction of the horrors stories connected with old age.

  2. Anonymously Yours: I think the word you’re looking for is “linchpin,” not “lynch pen.” Although the context of this story makes using the phrase you did quite funny.

    Peyton Farquhar: My mother is 96 years old, and the only drug she takes is a blood pressure pill each day.

    Swarthmore Mom: The new mayor of Houston was mentored and endorsed by the previous mayor, Bill White, a beloved mayor and a progressive Democrat, and he made his campaign staff available for her campaign. White will be running for governor next year against either Kay Bailey “The Breck Girl” Hutchison or Rick “Governor Goodhair” Perry, whichever wins the Republican primary. Please pray that we can get Bill White into the governor’s mansion.

  3. Given that people are living longer and longer and the costs are escalating, perhaps what happened in this case might have a more universal application.

    Perhaps a ‘Put Your Roommate out of her Misery’ campaign might have merit.

    Of course it’s not as effective as the ‘Eat Your Neighbor’ idea I saw once!

  4. Elaine Barney Frank has unfortutaly sold out to the banks. Ms Parker the mayor elect of Houston is the first openly gay female mayor of a major city. She and her opponent are both democrats, but she was the anti-establishment candidate. I wonder what kind of coalition she was able to put together to accomplish this.

  5. The linked article doesn’t have this quote which I have seen in a couple of other stories:


    Barrow said he asked officials at the Brandon Woods nursing home to separate his mother and her roommate, but they assured him the two were getting along. ”

    If that’s true then the nursing home may indeed have a legal problem.

  6. FF LEO,

    If I am correct this P.F. Is really bdaman in drag. If you will read the style of prose it is similar.

  7. I’m curious as to how many and what kind of drugs these two women were on – Considering their advanced ages, they had to be on multiple chemicals, no doubt, and all interacting with each other causing murderous rage just like the Ft. Hood and Orlando shooters in the U.S. Sometimes keeping alive by taking chemicals isn’t such a great idea.

  8. There may have not been any place else to put her. When my Mother went to a nursing home for the last time she had a few days with a roommate who made weird popping noises and was a big headache to everyone. When the staff realized it was likely my Mom’s last night they moved the demented roomie to the only place they could find…the dining hall.

    It isn’t always the ability to pay that determines if an elderly person gets a private room. Often it comes down to availablity.

  9. This story is so sad! I feel sorry for both families!

    I greatly admire Mrs. Barrow’s son for being so forgiving about the situation.

  10. AY–

    We’ve got Barney Frank–don’t forget.


    It is indeed a sad case–and situation for both families. If the staff knew the two women didn’t get along, something should have been done.

  11. This is a very sad case. I have to credit the victim’s son for stating the obvious about a prosecution against a 98 year old dementia patient. I don’t know how you could successfully prosecute this woman. Did she admit to the charges? The story seems to indicate that it is circumstantial evidence being used by the prosecution. Can you convict a woman for just sharing the room with the victim? Couldn’t a staff member have been responsible? My last question is how could the staff put this woman with dementia in the same room with someone without closer supervision? People with dementia are known to have a tendency to become violent at times. A very unfortunate and sad situation for both families.

  12. I am staying down south, where sometimes its as wide as my mouth.

    Swartzmoremom sent me an article about the gay/lesbian mayor of Houston. I don’t suppose you are as liberal up there.

  13. AY–

    You best watch out for us Northeastern liberal elitist progressives-cum-socialists when we’re geriatrically advanced! We’re not so open-minded and accepting when people mess with “our space.”

  14. WOW, Elaine M., anything we should be aware of…..

    I don’t see how this woman can be criminally liable based upon her state of Dementia.

    I figure that if the Nursing Home has had any technical violations they will certainly lose their accreditation and will be closed quickly.

    This is unfortunate for all sides considered.

    I think the lynch pen of the prosecutions case in chief is undermined as the Victims son said this:

    Her son, Scott Barrow, said that prosecuting Lundquist would be absurd and wrong: “I don’t see how you can prosecute a 98-year-old woman. It’s like prosecuting a 2-year-old. But it’s not for me to decide. The law has to take its course. I don’t feel vengeful at all. I feel pity for her.”

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