Maryland Woman Strangled Her 92-Year-Old Roommate to Death. Then, She Propped Her on a Pillow, Sprayed Some Perfume on Her and Called 911.

maryland woman strangled  year old roommate murder sentence
Source: Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office

Jun. 30 2023, Published 11:45 a.m. ET

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A Maryland woman has been sentenced to 23 years in prison in connection with the murder of her 92-year-old roommate and family friend, according to authorities.

On July 28, 2021, first responders were called to a residence in Kensington for a death investigation, as Front Page Detectives previously reported.

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Once at the scene, 28-year-old Julia Birch told police she had suffocated and killed Nancy Ann Frankel, who was found dead in her bedroom, officials said.

Birch tried to get Frankel’s body back into her bed, but was unsuccessful. So, she staged the body to look more presentable, laying Frankel on a pillow, folding her arms over her chest and putting perfume on her, according to authorities.

Birch was arrested and admitted to police that she killed Frankel by trying to place a plastic bag over Frankel’s head to suffocate her, but the victim was able to poke a hole in the bag. That is when Birch took her to the ground and strangled her to death, officials said.

Detectives said physical evidence and an autopsy confirmed this method of death.

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Birch told police she then called 911 to report the death. Doctors found Birch was experiencing psychotic symptoms at the time of the murder and she was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, but said she still understood murder was wrong and could control her conduct to conform to law.

On March 20, Birch pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Frankel.

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On June 29, a judge sentenced Birch to 40 years in prison, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The judge suspended all but 23 years to serve and five years of supervised probation upon release. She must also complete 240 hours of community service upon probation.


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