Alleged killer appeared mentally unstable

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By Martin Salazar

The woman accused of bludgeoning her housemate to death this week may have been suffering from mental health problems.

Tamara Smith, 52, has been booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center on an open count of murder and one count of extreme cruelty to animals.

“Ms. Smith displayed what appeared ... as mental health issues,” Sgt. Mack Allingham states in the probable cause statement filed in San Miguel County Magistrate Court.

The victim, Sherry Anne Clancy, 61, was found dead in her Sperry Drive home on Monday.

Her body was discovered lying on the kitchen floor partially covered with a white sheet. Clancy sustained severe blunt trauma to her head and face.

Investigators found a small dog next to the body. The dog, which had also been beaten to death, was covered with the white sheet.

Police found a red fire extinguisher on the floor next to the body. The extinguisher had what appeared to be blood on it, according to the court document, which was filed Wednesday. There was also blood on the kitchen floor and cabinets.

Police actually showed up at the home to do a welfare check of “a possible mental patient.”

Officer Clarence Romero went to the home shortly before noon on Monday and met with Smith, who told Romero that she was looking for her cat. She did not mention Clancy.

A neighbor subsequently told Romero that he should talk to Clancy.

Romero made contact with Smith again and asked to speak to Clancy, the court document states.

Smith pointed to where Clancy’s body was. Romero later noticed what appeared to be blood on Smith’s hands.

Police interviewed Smith at the police department. During that interview Smith “told me that she and Sherry Clancy to include ‘three cats and a dog and plants’ were the only ones that lived in the residence,” Allingham states in the court document. Smith told police she “could not take no responsibility” for Clancy’s death, the document states.

“At one point she denied that Ms. Clancy was lying dead in the kitchen even though she has gone into the kitchen and re-trieved items from the refrigerator,” the document states.

Magistrate Chris Najar set Smith’s bond at $1 million cash only during a hearing Wednesday afternoon. Smith, dressed in an orange jail suit, appeared via video conferencing. Najar entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.

During questioning by a court clerk, a polite Smith said she did not work but received monthly public assistance benefits.

Asked whom she lived with, she responded, “It was Sherry Clancy.”