A La Quinta woman charged with killing her 85-year-old mother testified during a preliminary hearing Friday that injuries on the victim’s body were accidents from attempts to protect her from herself.

During a preliminary hearing Friday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Deputy District Attorney Anne Marie Lofthouse presented photos from June 23, 2021, when Deputy Sean Verigan from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Thermal Station responded to a call about possible elder abuse.

Verigan testified that the mother of the suspect, 85-year-old Rosemary Webster, told him that she had recently started living with Sally Martha Webster, and that “it was good at first and they seemed to get along but they began to argue after a while…at some point she worried that her daughter was going to kill her.”

Toward the end of Friday’s preliminary hearing, the defendant was called to the stand and she testified that she moved in with her mother after her father died and took care of her, but that she noticed her mother wasn’t doing as well after his death.

She testified that her mother would often scream and wander off, so in separate occasions she did put tape over her mouth, bind her wrists together, and bruise her eye and shoulders to stop her from driving, all in an effort to protect her mother from herself.

“I was very resilient and didn’t give up and I am very compassionate and love both my parents,” said the defendant. “I certainly did my very best.”

Sally Webster testified that the day of her mother’s death, she woke up to find her mother dead on the floor and immediately called police.

Before her testimony concluded, Riverside County Court Judge Anthony Villalobos set the preliminary hearing to continue Jan. 13.

At around 4 p.m. March 17, deputies responded to a report of an unattended death in the 51200 block of Avenida Ramirez in La Quinta, according to Sgt. Ed Baeza of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Rosemary Webster was found dead on the scene.

“Deputies noticed unexplained injuries to the victim which were inconsistent with statements made,” Baeza wrote.

The sheriff department’s Central Homicide Unit assumed an investigation and subsequently arrested Webster, according to Baeza.

Webster, 60, was charged with two felony counts, one each of murder and of cruelty to an elder, according to court records. She also faces a special circumstance allegation of inflicting torture, potentially opening her up to the death penalty if prosecutors opt to pursue it.

Webster remains held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

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