The conditions inside 2174 Haworth St. in November were not tolerable for human life, especially not that of an immobile 89-year-old woman. Maggots crawled the floor. The walls were pocked with holes. There was no running water, no working kitchen appliances.

"We actually felt uncomfortable being in the residence because of the amount of bugs," Philadelphia Police Officer Mike Laverghetta testified Tuesday in Municipal Court. He described the scene as "deplorable, at best."

The woman who answered the door that day, Jean Dombrowski, was entrusted with the care of Prane Paciunas.

Paciunas - who was suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and multiple infections - had died eight days later from an ulcer, four inches wide, above her buttocks, exposing bone, according to testimony from an assistant medical examiner, Albert Chu.

A judge ordered Dombrowski, 48, to stand trial for murder in the death of Paciunas, her elderly East Frankford neighbor. Dombrowski could face life in prison if convicted.

Testimony in Tuesday's preliminary hearing described an abusive caretaker who provided nothing.

Police entered the house Nov. 7 with a court order after an anonymous complaint. They found Paciunas on a mattress covered with trash bags in the living room. Laverghetta thought she was dead. Her face was gray.

Paciunas died Nov. 15 at Aria Health Frankford Campus. The 5-foot-1 woman weighed 98 pounds.

One of Dombrowski's daughters, Sara Hadlock, testified against her Tuesday. Hadlock, 18, who knew Paciunas for seven years before her death, moved last summer with her mother around the corner to Paciunas' house.

Dombrowski, Hadlock said, ripped apart the house with the intent to fix it. That never happened. She testified that her mother fed Paciunas "maybe two times" the whole summer. Hadlock said she moved out of the house when the conditions became unbearable.

Neighbors sometimes offered Hadlock food for Paciunas. The 89-year-old woman spent most of her time confined to a green beach chair.

What happened when Paciunas needed to use the bathroom?

"She would usually go on herself," Hadlock said.

Dombrowski, wearing a tan sweater with her hair in a ponytail, stared at her daughter during Tuesday's lengthy testimony. Whenever Hadlock paused, she looked down at the floor.

Her mother, Hadlock said, had threatened her if she called police.

Fred Goodman, Dombrowski's public-defense attorney, said his client at the time was traumatized by the shooting death of her boyfriend. Goodman portrayed Dombrowski as a responsible mother and caretaker for 17 years until, spurred by the troublesome boyfriend, she became addicted to drugs.

"She went off the deep end for a period of a year," Goodman said. "She became a drug addict who just disappeared."

Dombrowski had no intent to kill, he said.

As Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn finished her arguments in Tuesday's preliminary hearing, Municipal Court Judge David Shuter interrupted her.

"The facts of this case are horrible," Shuter said. "You don't have to go over them."

Kirn rested, and Shuter ordered Dombrowski to stand trial on charges of murder, neglect, theft, and related offenses.

mgelb@philly.com

215-854-2928 @MattGelb