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Elderly couple beaten in W.Va.

August 24, 2000

Elderly couple beaten in W.Va.



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Lying in a hospital bed recovering from injuries she suffered four days earlier in an incident Martinsburg City Police are classifying as road rage, Elizabeth James was still stunned Thursday.

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James, 66, and her friend Robert Everheart, 68, were attacked in War Memorial Park after being followed by a car as they drove through town, police said.

James suffered a fractured hip and Everheart was knocked unconscious for a brief moment after being slugged in the face, police said.

A 16-year-old Martinsburg girl and an 18-year-old Martinsburg man have been charged in the incident, according to Martinsburg Police.

James said she cannot believe someone would so brutally attack an older couple. Had she would have committed such an act as a teenager, "my mother would have beat my behind off," James said from her bed at City Hospital Thursday night.

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"I was poor but I wasn't raised that way," James said.

James said she and Everheart had bought ice-cream at Juels Frozen Custard and Ice Cream Shop on East Moler Avenue last Sunday about 7 p.m. Shortly after pulling back onto the road, they noticed a car behind them.

James said she believes the people in the car may have thought that Everheart pulled too closely in front of them, but she saw it differently.

"You know how traffic around here is sometimes. You have to take a chance sometimes to get out," said Everheart.

Someone shouted from the car and Everheart yelled back, James said.

At one point, another car maneuvered between that car and Everheart's vehicle, but the assailants continued to follow the couple to the park, James said.

When the two cars arrived at the park, there was a verbal discussion between the two parties, said Sgt. Glenn Macher.

Then a young girl knocked James to the ground and a man struck Everheart in the face with his fist, Macher said.

Before the man struck Everheart, James said she threw her ice cream on his assailant in an attempt to divert his attention.

Everheart went back to his truck and got a fishing net out of the back which he tried to use to defend himself, James said.

Everheart was hit so hard that he was dazed and told police when they arrived that he thought he had been in a traffic accident, Macher said.

"I thought they had killed him. I screamed, screamed and screamed," James said.

The two assailants returned to their car and left, Macher said.

James said a nurse who was in the park came to her aid and comforted her until an ambulance arrived.

Several witnesses were key to helping police make arrests, Macher said. Witnesses got a registration number and provided police with other information, her said.

A 16-year-old Martinsburg girl was charged with unlawful wounding but was not incarcerated, Macher said.

Danny Lee Wise, 18, of 1300 Virginia Ave., Martinsburg, was charged with unlawful wounding, police said. He was released on $5,000 bond.

Everheart, who was at City Hospital visiting James Thursday evening, still had a black eye, bruising on his neck and a wound over his left brow.

James said doctors have told her that she may be in the hospital for another four to six weeks. James said she had a ruptured disc in her back before the attack, and is worried that the combination of that and the hip fracture will affect her ability to get around.

"It amazed me the amount of injuries there was to these two people," Macher said.

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