A 76-year-old woman allegedly shot her best friend dead after the 83-year-old broke her ankle and begged to die.
Sandra Bonertz has been charged with murder for the supposed ‘mercy killing’ of her roommate at the Pinewood Glen Retirement Community in Bakersfield, California.
The victim, who has so far only been identified as ‘Winnie’ by friends, apparently ‘pleaded for death’ while with Bonertz – after breaking her ankle and being left unable to walk.
The death came to light on Sunday when police were called to conduct a welfare check on one of the residents at the retirement home.
When cops arrived they found a woman with multiple injuries and Bonertz who was still clutching the suspected murder weapon, officials said.
Police say that Bonertz handed over the weapon without incident and cooperated with officers at the scene, later admitting that she had assaulted her roommate the previous evening.
At arraignment hearing on Tuesday, Bonertz appeared in a grey jail jumpsuit, leg irons and handcuffs, reports the Bakersfield Californian.
When asked to enter her plea, Bonertz did not respond until a bailiff gave her a portable headset to help her hear the proceedings.
She pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and Judge Michael Bush ordered her held without bail due to the seriousness of the crime.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, a close friend of both Bonertz and Winnie claimed the killing was at Winnie’s request.
‘They were the dearest of friends, they did everything for each other, they never fought. I know there was no anger or anything involved like that’, said Cheryl Sperry, who said she had known both women for nearly for her entire life, according to KGET-TV.
‘I do believe that Winnie begged her to kill her. She had said that on many occasions in front of me, if I ever can’t walk please kill me’, Sperry added.
She continued: ‘And Winnie was in a car accident a month ago, Winnie and Sandy both, and Winnie broke her ankle and she was unable to walk and she was unable to get into a doctor.
‘It takes three months to get into a doctor these days and she was completely miserable.
‘I talked to them Thursday, she was depressed and distraught, just down in the dumps. I don’t believe there was any malice or anything like that.’
The Kern County Coroner’s office has not yet released the victim’s identity or Winnie’s cause of death. Public records list an 83-year-old woman named Winnie as living with Bonertz.
The Pinewood Glen Retirement Community is an independent living center for seniors age 55 and older.
The complex is operated by the Kern County Housing Authority, which issued a statement saying: ‘It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of a resident at Pinewood Glen on Sunday.’
‘According to police, this was an instance of domestic violence.
‘Pinewood Glen has a strict policy prohibiting weapons at the property.’
Bonertz is currently being held without bail is due back in court August 9.