Neighbor charged in grisly murder of 81-year-old Needham woman

NEEDHAM (WHDH) - A woman accused of brutally killing an elderly resident in Needham was ordered held without bail Friday on murder charges.

Police announced on Thursday that they had arrested Tammie Patrice Galloway, 47, in connection with the murder of her 81-year-old neighbor, Laura Shifrina.

Officers were called to Shifrina’s elderly housing complex on May 31 and found her dead inside. Police said she died from “sharp trauma” injuries to the neck.

The medical examiner’s office determined that Shifrina suffered eight lacerations to her neck, a punctured jugular, four slice wounds to her arm and four broken ribs, prosecutors said during Galloway’s arraignment Dedham District Court.

Galloway, a neighbor of Shifrina, is also accused of stealing her car and other valuables after the alleged murder before fleeing the scene. Police spent hours looking for the missing Ford Fiesta, which was later discovered in Boston.

Galloway was also caught on surveillance video bleaching Shifrina’s car before ditching it, according to prosecutors. She initially told police that she had a good relationship with Shifrina but police said they found Shifrina’s blood on her purse. Witnesses say Galloway had Shrifina’s belongings after her death.

“We believe that this was an isolated incident and a targeted death,” District Attorney Michael Morrissey said.

According to court documents obtained by 7News, Galloway is no stranger to the law. She has had 20 adult arraignments in Massachusetts and seven others in North Carolina, including charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

It’s not clear why Galloway was allowed to live in public housing through the Needham Housing Authority.

Friends of Shifrina said they are sickened, heartbroken and shocked by the gruesome details surrounding her death.

Galloway is due back in court in July.

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