May 27, 2010

Newspaper: Boston Herald
By: Laurel J. Sweet,  link to article

May 27, 2010

Files civil action against alleged killer, facility

A 98-year-old woman – the oldest person ever to face a murder rap in Massachusetts – has now been hit with a wrongful-death suit by the son of the 100-year-old nursing home roommate she allegedly killed in a jealous snit.

Laura Lundquist stands accused of brutally beating and strangling Elizabeth Barrow in September, then wrapping a plastic bag around her head as the centenarian widow lay in bed at the Brandon Woods long-term care facility in Dartmouth.

Prosecutors have said Lundquist was upset over the number of visitors Elizabeth Barrow received and that her bed had a choice window view.

Scott Barrow’s civil action filed in Newburyport Superior Court also names Brandon Woods and members of its staff as defendants.

Elizabeth Barrow was “bruised and battered and strangled. This can’t be happening quietly at 6 in the morning,” said attorney Suzanne McDonough. “There’s a staff in this place for a reason. Otherwise, just call it a hotel.”

Lundquist’s attorney Carl Levin did not return multiple calls seeking comment. The nursing home referred questions to its chief operating officer Scott Picone, but said he was unavailable to speak. A subsequent call for comment went unreturned.

Gregg Miliotte, spokesman for Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter, said Lundquist is still undergoing a mental-health evaluation at Taunton State Hospital.

According to her autopsy, Elizabeth Barrow suffered blunt impact to her head and torso and widespread internal hemorrhaging. The cause of her death was ruled strangulation and suffocation by plastic bag.

Although she is suing Lundquist, McDonough said, “My focus is on those people who were supposed to keep both women protected. Believe it or not, this 98-year-old woman is a victim, as well.

“All (Brandon Woods) had to do was provide for safety,” she said. “We’re not talking about open-heart surgery or end-of-life decisions. It’s about day to day living in a residential facility.”