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Woman Pleads Guilty to Murdering Grandmother With Claw Hammer

November 16, 1996 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A woman admitted bludgeoning her 80-year-old grandmother to death with a claw hammer to collect an inheritance, blaming the crime on her alcoholism.

Kyle Colleen Black, 31, wept as she pleaded guilty Friday to charges of aggravated murder and theft in the May 14 slaying of Hazel Clemens.

In exchange for her plea, she escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years.

Clemens had made Black the main beneficiary in her will but was considering changing it to leave property to someone outside the family.


In a written statement, Black blamed the killing on alcohol.

``Until the day I die I have to live with the fact that I killed my grandma because I didn’t try harder to stay sober,″ she wrote.

``When not under alcohol, I make decisions that are sound and just,″ she wrote.

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Callahan rejected her arguments.

Clemens ``was not brutally murdered by alcohol. It was this woman who caused″ her death, Callahan said.