Retirement home murder suspect pleads not guilty; Friend thinks shooting was mercy killing

Homicide News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A woman who knew both the victim and suspect in a deadly retirement home shooting believes it was a mercy killing.

76-year-old Sandra Bonertz pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Tuesday, days after allegedly killing a lifelong friend at the Pinewood Glen Retirement Community in Bakersfield. While officials have not released a motive in this case, a friend of both women said to 17 News that the victim had been depressed and miserable leading up to her death, after an accident left her unable to walk.

“They were the dearest of friends, they did everything for each other, they never fought, I know there was no anger or anything involved like that. I do believe [the victim] begged her to kill her,” said Cheryl Sperry. Sperry said she went to Bonertz’s arraignment to support her.

She said she had heard the victim say before, multiple times, to “kill me” if she ever couldn’t walk.

“She was completely miserable, I talked to her Thursday,” said Sperry, “she was depressed and distraught, just down in the dumps. I don’t believe there was any malice, or anything like that in the case.”

A call to the District Attorney’s Office was not immediately returned. Bonertz is due back in court August 9.

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