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An Arkansas woman bludgeoned her elderly grandmother to death with a hammer because she believed God wanted her to make a sacrifice or she’d go to hell, according to prosecutors.
Andrea Wilson, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder, aggravated assault and battery in the death of her 81-year-old grandmother Ruby Ross, who was found dead in her Pea Ridge home on May 16, 2018, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Wilson received a sentence of 36 years in prison after prosecutors agreed to a plea deal as a result of mental health evaluations and pleas for leniency from Ross’ family.
Wilson visited her grandmother on May 15, 2018. The two had dinner together and Ross went to sleep.
Deputy Prosecutor Josh Robinson said Wilson crept into her grandmother's bedroom and struck her with a hammer approximately four times. She apparently believed that May 15, 2018 was her last day she'd be able make a sacrifice to appease God.
Wilson later said she had not been taking her prescribed lithium at the time of the murder.
The following day, Ross’ daughter, LeAnn Ross, discovered her mother's body in the bed after she grew concerned when she couldn’t reach her.
“Someone murdered my mother!” she frantically told a Benton County Sheriff’s deputy, according to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Ross had a “large open wound to her head.” Her hands had been covered with a pink bath towel and she was cold to the touch.
Wilson put the bloody hammer, rubber gloves, a large knife and bank statements with the name Andrea Wilson on them in a garbage bag and hid them in an outbuilding on the property, according to the affidavit.
Investigators learned that before Ross was killed, Wilson had been involved in another violent altercation. Earlier in the day she struck a bicyclist with her car, local station KNWA reports.
The bicyclist told authorities that after Wilson struck him, she tried to drive back toward him, but she hit a boulder with her car and got stuck on the rock.
When she got out of the car, she asked him, “Can you help me?”
Wilson was evaluated by mental health experts hired by prosecutors and the defense, but the experts were unable to agree on whether or not Wilson had known the criminal nature of her actions.
Her aunt, LeAnn Ross, asked the judge for “mercy” in the sentencing, saying her niece had a difficult childhood filled with neglect as a result of her parents’ drug problems.
While LeAnn said she understood Wilson “has to suffer the consequences of her actions” she also believed her mother would not have wanted Wilson to be punished for the duration of her life.
“Actually, if she could manifest herself in court today, she would tell you to let her go because of her complete and utter love of Andrea,” she said. “I want Andrea to know that I forgive her. She is valuable, and we still love her.”
A visibly emotional Wilson also addressed the court and apologized for hitting the bicyclist and bludgeoning her grandmother to death, saying there were not enough words to describe the remorse she felt.
“I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me,” she said.
Wilson was sentenced to 36 years behind bars in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with a 10-year suspended sentence once she is released. She will be eligible for parole after 19 years.
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