Roxanne Lararmart, 29, told police that she attacked Sally Haese, 69, with the tools in her home because she thought Haese was molesting a child and was “trying to do the right thing to help.”
Another adult living with Haese at the North Redwood Lane home tried to detain Lararmart after calling police, but he was unable to keep her from fleeing the scene. That man and two other adults told responding officers that they knew Lararmart for several years and identified her as the attacker.
Haese was taken to hospital where she died shortly on arrival. Investigators recovered the ball peen hammer and box cutter at the scene.
Buckeye police arrested Lararmart early Tuesday at a trailer park less than a mile from Haese’s home. Witnesses earlier reported hearing Haese scream in pain and found Lararmart on top of her, possibly strangling the elderly woman.
Investigators said Lararmart is a known transient in downtown Buckeye, a western suburb of Phoenix with about 68,000 residents.
Police said they’re investigating Lararmart’s claims that Haese was molesting a child, but department officials told investigators “we do not have a disclosure from any victims or details” of any crimes committed against children involving her.
Lararmart, who has been charged with first-degree murder, burglary and aggravated assault, is due back in court on Feb. 20. She would remain in Maricopa County Jail as of Wednesday on $500,000 cash-only bond.