Waterford woman charged with attempting to kill mother

Dorothy Hightower of Waterford is arraigned Friday in New London Superior Court on a charge of attempted murder.
Dorothy Hightower of Waterford is arraigned Friday in New London Superior Court on a charge of attempted murder.

Waterford - Reportedly sick of being constantly yelled at, a Waterford woman finally "lost it" Friday morning and tried to strangle her mother, according to police, choking the woman until she lost consciousness.

Police lodged attempted murder and second-degree strangulation charges against Dorothy Hightower, 40, of 32 Dimmock Road. Hightower was arraigned Friday afternoon at New London Superior Court and is being held on a $150,000 bond. Hightower did not enter a plea, and her case was continued to Nov. 4.

According to a probable cause report, Waterford police received a call about 10:23 a.m. Friday from a woman who said she had strangled her mother. When police arrived, Hightower was waiting for them outside the house and told them, "I lost it, I strangled my mother." When police asked whether the mother was OK, Hightower replied, "I don't know."

One officer handcuffed Hightower and put her in the backseat of the police cruiser while a second officer ran inside to check on the mother. Police found the 58-year-old woman conscious and propped up on a bed in a second-floor bedroom with blood coming from her nose and mouth. She was taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

When questioned, Hightower said she had been downstairs folding laundry when she heard her mother in her room upstairs, "screaming because the roofers had done the roof on the house wrong, and her cousin had remodeled the bathroom wrong," according to the report.

Hightower told police she went upstairs and confronted her mother, asking, "Is anything ever right for you?" When her mother started yelling at her, Hightower said, she "lost it," putting her hands around her mother's neck, pushing her onto the bed, and telling her "this was going to be the best thing that ever happened to her."

Hightower squeezed her mother's neck until the woman turned purple, she said, and told police that as she was squeezing her mother's neck, her mother asked, "What about your boys?"

Hightower is a married mother of two, according to a bail commissioner's report to Judge Kevin McMahon at the arraignment Friday. The bail commissioner also said Hightower has a history of depression and mental health issues, receives Social Security benefits and has been on and off various medications. She has no prior criminal record, he said. He also described her as a substitute teacher, but didn't say which district, nor whether she was currently employed as such. Hightower's lawyer, public defender Shawn Tiernan, added later that Hightower also has epilepsy.

According to the probable cause report, Hightower said she saw blood coming from her mother's mouth as she choked her and that, as she looked at her mother, she thought, "What a sad, lonely, angry woman." Her mother passed out at one point, the report says.

Hightower told police she intended to kill her mother and described a combination of emotions in allegedly attempting to do so.

"Hightower stated that she was full of so much hate and love and she wanted the victim to be in a better place," the report says.

When Hightower realized what she had done, she stopped, ran downstairs and called 9-1-1, according to the report. Police said they observed scratches on Hightower's face and arms and that when they asked her how she got them, she said her mother had scratched her while Hightower was strangling her. During her arraignment on Friday, Hightower's right cheek had red marks that appeared to be scratch marks.

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