Woman who smothered grandmother has conviction overturned

December 28, 2019 GMT

BEND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals this week overturned the 2016 manslaughter conviction of a 49-year-old Bend woman who smothered her grandmother with a pillow.

The Bulletin reports Angela Judd pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of Nada Bodholdt. Bodholdt was 92 and in a Bend nursing home when she was smothered to death on New Year’s Eve 2015.

Judd told a counselor what she had done, and Jones alerted police.

Judd’s lawyer argued that Judd’s admissions to her counselor were privileged. The trial court disagreed and said Jones’ could testify against her client.

After the lower court’s ruling, Judd pleaded guilty rather than go to trial for murder. She was sentenced to over six years in prison.

In its ruling this week, the appeals court concluded that under the state’s elder abuse statute, the counselor was permitted only to make an initial report to authorities.

The court ruled that Judd’s statements to her counselor otherwise remained privileged.

Laura Frikert, who handled Judd’s appeal, declined to comment on the ruling. A spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Justice said the agency had not decided whether to ask the Oregon Supreme Court to review the ruling.

Judd was a registered nurse who had served as a caregiver to her grandmother for several years before her death.