Suspect didn’t want grandma to ‘live like this anymore’ — and grabbed a knife, police say

Brandon Smith of Chandler, Arizona is facing murder charges in the death of an 89-year-old grandmother.
Brandon Smith of Chandler, Arizona is facing murder charges in the death of an 89-year-old grandmother. Chandler Police Department

“Frustrated” by the difficulty of caring for their elderly grandmother with dementia, the woman’s biological grandson slapped her unconscious before grabbing a knife and ending her life, Arizona police said in a probable cause statement.

A neighbor who lived below the grandmother told CBS 5 she heard the agonized wails from the family members who discovered the grandmother’s body.

“I could not imagine, I could feel her feeling, walking in, seeing your mom dead,” she told the station. “She was screaming, she was frightened. She just kept yelling, like, ‘Grandma’s gone, grandma’s gone!”

Police arrested and jailed 30-year-old Brandon Smith, of Chandler, Ariz., on suspicion of first-degree murder, the Arizona Republic reported.

Chandler police were called to an apartment shortly after 3:30 Sunday morning, where they found 89-year-old Helen Smith dead with bruising on her face and a gash across her throat, according to the police report.

The suspect, Brandon Smith, had disappeared but was located by police and arrested a short time later, police said. The Arizona Republic reported that Smith was actually the one who originally called police, but left before they arrived.

Police say Smith confessed to the killing and told a story about the frustrations and difficulty of caring for someone with dementia. Smith told police the victim had urinated on herself, which made Smith “angry.’ Smith then took her to the shower and slapped her, after which she fell unconscious, according to police.

It was at this point police say Smith decided the victim would not “live like this anymore,” police say. Smith grabbed a knife, returned to the bathroom and sliced the victim’s throat, police said.

Police said Smith was “impaired” at the time of the crime, 12 News reported. Smith was also already on probation on an aggravated assault charge, according to CBS 5.

Police said in a probable cause statement that there was evidence the crime was premeditated, and so charged Smith with first-degree murder.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.