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Woman accused of killing mother waives Versailles robbery charges

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Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 3:31 a.m.

A Salem Township woman accused of killing her mother in Westmoreland County and robbing a bank in Versailles will go to court on the robbery charges.

Sarah D. Vercauteren, 25, waived her right to a preliminary hearing before White Oak Magisterial District Judge Thomas Miller Jr. on Monday.

Vercauteren appeared briefly in court in shackles and a red Allegheny County Jail jumpsuit, with her attorney Sean Link of the county Public Defender's office. Her formal arraignment is scheduled for March 6.

Vercauteren was arrested on Jan. 7 for the robbery of the PNC Bank in Olympia Shopping Center.

On Friday, she confessed to killing her mother, Dawn Marie Wagner, 51, with a hammer on New Year's Eve in their Salem Township mobile home.

Vercauteren is scheduled to appear on Friday before Magisterial District Judge Jason Buczak of Apollo on the homicide charge.

The day of the bank robbery, Vercauteren allegedly attempted to rob a Subway restaurant in the shopping center, but failed. Police said Vercauteren's 2-year-old son was in the car at the time.

McKeesport police stopped her vehicle on Evans Street just minutes after the robbery occurred.

Wagner's body was found by her estranged husband on Thursday in the Forbes Trail Mobile Home Park on Hawk Drive. He visited the home to check on her when he couldn't reach her.

Vercauteren told state police that she began striking her mother with a hammer when Vercauteren became irate because her mother would not let her use her car.

Authorities said Wagner was hit 18 times. Vercauteren is accused of strangling Wagner and binding her with duct tape during the assault.

Authorities said Vercauteren continued to occasionally stay in the mobile home with her son while her mother's body was in the bathroom.

Police said Vercauteren is known to have drug problems but it is unclear if she was under the influence of drugs at the time of the attack.

Vercauteren's child was turned over to a family member and Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families was notified.

Vercauteren is being held without bail in Allegheny County Jail.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966.

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