MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — A northwest Indiana man allegedly killed his roommate by repeatedly spiking her beverages with windshield washer fluid because he felt she was disrespecting him by not approving of his heavy drinking, authorities said.
Thomas Holifield, 59, is charged with murder in the June 1 methanol poisoning death of 64-year-old Pamela Keltz, according to Michigan City police and the LaPorte County coroner.
The Michigan City man has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is due back in court on Jan. 20. A LaPorte County judge appointed mental health professionals in October to determine if Holifield is competent to stand trial.
A message seeking comment was left Friday for Holifield's public defender by The Associated Press.
Keltz was being treated in the intensive care unit at a Michigan City hospital on May 30 when Holifield contacted police, saying he wanted to confess to poisoning her, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported, citing court records.
After learning that Keltz had been poisoned, doctors altered her treatment. But she was declared brain dead and her family removed her from life support on June 1, court records show.
Holifield told police that while he once had a romantic relationship with Keltz, he had been renting a room from her and she was his “best friend.” But he told officers he was a heavy drinker and Keltz did not drink alcohol, and his habit had become “a point of contention between the two of them," court records state.
Holifield told officers he thought Keltz was disrespectful toward him and he devised a plan to poison her, initially by putting eye drops into a cup she drank soda from, according to court records.
“Thomas noted that the eye drops were not causing severe enough illness. Pamela would have hallucinations and diarrhea but then recover," the records state.
Holifield told police that in May he noticed a bottle of windshield washer fluid in Keltz’s room, saw that it contained methanol and learned that the chemical was poisonous, according to court records.
He allegedly said he put some of that fluid in Keltz’s 2-liter bottles of soda and she became sick and went to a hospital. After she returned home, he said he began putting larger quantities of windshield washer fluid in her soda bottles, with the goal of killing her, according to court records.