NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia woman accused of fatally shooting her parents and dismembering their bodies with a chainsaw in the home they shared will not face a death sentence, prosecutors said Thursday.
The announcement came during an arraignment hearing for Verity Beck, 44, of Abington, who pleaded not guilty to two counts each of first- and third-degree murder, corpse abuse, and possessing instruments of crime — a firearm and a chainsaw. Her trial was scheduled for February, and she will remain jailed without bail.
A motive for the slayings has not been disclosed. James P. Lyons, Beck’s public defender, said only that “we do intend to vigorously defend this case.”
Samantha Cauffman, an assistant prosecutor in Montgomery County, told the judge her office would not seek the death penalty because “the required legal factors are not present in this case.”
Beck underwent several mental health evaluations and was found competent to stand trial. She could face a potential life sentence if convicted.
The bodies of Reid Beck, 73, and Miriam Beck, 72, were found Jan. 17 after their son told Abington police he had gone to his parents’ home to check on them because he hadn’t spoken to them by phone since Jan. 7. He saw a body on a floor, covered with a bloody sheet, and a chainsaw nearby.
The man told police that he spoke to his sister and that when he asked whether something bad had happened to their parents, she responded, “Yes.” Verity Beck allegedly told her brother that things at home had “been bad.”