Graphic: Ohio woman gets life in prison for drowning grandmother in sink

Woman sentenced to life in prison for drowning 93-year-old grandmother
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:21 AM EDT
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EATON, Ohio (WXIX/Gray News) - An Ohio woman who pleaded guilty to murdering her 93-year-old grandmother by drowning her in the kitchen sink was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.

Heidi Matheny, 35, will be eligible for parole after 15 years under Ohio’s mandatory sentencing guidelines, WXIX reports.

Matheny told police that she drowned her grandmother, Alice J. Matheny, in a kitchen sink of soapy water as she washed dishes in their apartment on Nov. 22, 2022.

She climbed out of the window after and walked to jail, where she announced that she was turning herself in for killing her grandmother, according to the police report.

“I just lost my s---. It’s nothing that she did. She’s not, she’s a perfect freaking grandma,” Matheny told a detective, according to the report.

Matheny has been held in lieu of a $500,000 bond at the Preble County Jail since her arrest in November. It was not immediately clear Wednesday when she would be moved to a state prison.

Her attorney wrote in pre-sentencing court documents that Matheny took responsibility for doing “the unthinkable” since the day it happened, is the one who reported it to law enforcement and “snapped” under pressure trying to care for her elderly grandmother.

“Mrs. Matheny has a long history of mental illness and instability. She confessed to law enforcement she just ‘snapped’ under the pressure of trying to care for the victim, whom she described as the perfect grandmother,” the report states.

The report also says that Matheny had a difficult time listening to her grandmother’s stress about family arguments over finances and other concerns.

“It appears that this pressure/stress felt by Mrs. Matheny when listening to these things, coupled with her mental illness(es), resulted in the unthinkable. Mrs. Matheny has expressed nothing but remorse for her actions since the onset of this case... Therefore, the Defendant respectfully requests that this Honorable Court sentence her to the only option available.”

Matheny told a detective her grandmother’s doctor said that she needed “to be in a nursing home but they cannot afford it.” She said her grandmother was stressed out and had panic attacks almost every day.

Matheny said that her grandmother “shouldn’t have to live like that.”

Matheny’s arrest report has graphic details of her confession to the police.

“She stated she held her head in the sink until she stopped blowing bubbles, then she drug her to the couch. She started blowing bubbles so she put her in the bathtub until she stopped,” the police report said.

She said she had grandmother by the hair and told the detective “she struggling, she was strong.”

The detective asked her if she was able to overpower the older woman even though she was struggling.

“She said yes,” the report states.

The detective asked her if her grandmother was breathing or moving at that point.

“No, just bubbles coming out,” Matheny said.

She explained then, the report continues, that she filled the bathtub and drug her grandmother into the bathroom. She removed her clothes, placed her in the bathtub and held her underwater for 15 minutes.

“She was face up so she was pushing her down by the chest. She said she kept floating back up to the top, so she rolled her over. Face down. Then she left. She went out through the window. She didn’t want the neighbors to see her,” the report states.

The detective asked Matheny if she had planned it.

“She said no but they did discuss this before. Whenever her grandmother was manic she would tell Matheny to just kill her. She said, ‘We all say this,’” the report states.