Suspect is charged with second murder

The housekeeper accused of fatally bludgeoning her elderly employers appeared Monday in Chatham County District Court on a new murder charge after a second woman died over the weekend.

Barbara Clark, 41, of Pittsboro answered the judge's questions with the same slight nod and inaudible whisper as she did in her court appearance on the first murder charge last week. She returned to court Monday to be formally informed of the new charge.

Her husband, Howard, a sister and two other supporters were in court but declined to speak to reporters. Clark's next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Clark is accused of attacking Margaret Murta, 92, Mary Corcoran, 82, and Rebecca Fisher, 77, on Wednesday morning in the Galloway Ridge apartment shared by Murta and Corcoran.

Corcoran died Saturday at UNC Hospitals. Murta died Wednesday.

Fisher was in fair condition Monday afternoon, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Blankenship said investigators have spoken with her again since Wednesday.

The weapon was a cane belonging either to Murta or to Corcoran, said Maj. Gary Blankenship, spokesman for the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators think Clark turned on the elderly women after they confronted her about stolen and forged checks, according the sheriff's office and search warrants.

The amount of money in question appears to be less than $1,000, Blankenship said, though he cautioned that investigators were still looking into the details.

Clark, who worked as a housekeeper for Murta and Corcoran, was arrested and charged after the assaults with beating all three women.

In addition to the murder counts, Clark faces charges of attempted murder and of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury in the injuries to Fisher.

She is being held without bail.